Catholic Foundation prepares for annual free seminar for lawyers, judges, financial professionals

Every Autumn, the Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana hosts the Red Mass, an event imploring the Holy Spirit's guidance for lawyers, judges and financial professionals. During the service, a professional oath is repeated by judges and attorneys alike.

The Mass begins at 8 a.m. on Oct. 5 at Our Lady of Consolation, located at 8303 Taft in Merrillville. People of all faiths are welcome to the liturgy presided over by Bishop Robert J. McClory. 

The Red Mass takes its title after the color of the religious vestments worn for the Mass of the Holy Spirit. The Indiana Attorney’s Oath is offered during the liturgy. The contemporary Red Mass also includes blessings and prayers for the legal and financial communities. 

In addition to providing a free Continuing Legal Education (CLE)/Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Seminar, professionals join together for a networking breakfast following the Mass.

The Red Mass is an invitation to share the Catholic faith with the legal and financial communities, in an open and welcoming setting especially as the faithful celebrate missionary discipleship and the Year of the Real Presence,” explained Judy Holicky, coordinator of stewardship and development for the Diocese of Gary.

“The Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana provides an opportunity through the Red Mass to witness the charitable efforts of the Foundation,” said Holicky. “We educate others about the benefits of charitable giving and invite them to educate their clients during the estate planning process. We hope to demonstrate the true meaning of charity, which is to love one another and to share our blessings with others.”

Guest speakers at this year’s seminar include Lake County Probate Commissioner Jewell Harris and Peoples Bank Vice President and Wealth Management Team Leader, Tom Devine. The topic is “Fiduciary Responsibility – A Legal and Practical Perspective.”

Prior to his appointment, Harris was an attorney at the Harris Law Firm, a practice he founded in 2009. During his tenure there, he specialized in civil litigation and municipal law matters, serving as legal counsel to the Lake County Board of Commissioners, the Lake County Sheriff, the Gary Sanitary District, the Gary Housing Authority, the School City of East Chicago, and the Michigan City Common Council. Harris earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Indiana University in 1997 and completed a J.D. at Valparaiso University School of Law in 2000. 

Devine earned his MBA from Indiana University in Gary and has been with the Bank and Wealth Management Group for over 11 years. He is a resident of Cedar Lake. Devine received his CTFA (Certified Trust and Financial Advisor) designation through the American Bankers Association, and previously held his Series 7 and 63 securities licenses. He currently sits on the Board of Civitan International Merrillville Chapter and is the acting Investment Chair and Board member to the Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana.

For the past four years, the Catholic Foundation has also chosen as a guest, a local charity to increase awareness about its mission and a free will offering is taken for that charity. This year’s guest charity will be the Mercy Fund, which provides grants annually based on need and fulfillment of the Acts of Mercy (Matthew 25:31-46). Previous guest charities included VASIA (Volunteer Advocates for Seniors or Incapacitated Adults), St. Joseph Carmelite Home, and Catholic Charities.

Representing the Mercy Fund will be Jim Koeling from the St. Michael’s Wheelchair Ramp Ministry in Schererville, one of the first ever Mercy grant winners. In the last four years, Koeling and his team have installed over 50 ramps with no charge to recipients.

"The success of the Wheelchair Ramp Ministry is beyond my comprehension; and without divine intervention I don't believe that we could have accomplished this mission," said Koeling.

The Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana was founded in 2008. The mission of the Foundation is to empower “people to express their faith by providing perpetual financial support for Diocesan ministries, parishes, and schools” serving the entire Diocese of Gary. Over 40 ministries have invested in endowment funds with the Foundation, with total assets of $14 million. 

For more information or to register for the Red Mass, visit the Catholic Foundation website, or contact Judy Holicky at or 219-769-9292, ext. 268.