September 16, 2014 // Local

Judge, deacon to speak at Red Mass dinner in Fort Wayne

Deacon Marc R. Kellams, a Circuit Court Judge in Monroe County, Indiana, will be the speaker following the Red Mass in Fort Wayne on Sept. 24.

FORT WAYNE — When the Honorable Marc R. Kellams speaks at the dinner following the Red Mass in Fort Wayne on Wednesday, Sept. 24, he will bring the perspective of a Catholic deacon and a circuit judge in southern Indiana’s Monroe County.

The Red Mass — an ancient custom dating back to the 13th century when the solemn votive Mass began being celebrated annually at the opening of the judicial year — will be held in Fort Wayne at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Lawyers, judges and civil government officials are invited. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades will be the celebrant and extends an invitation to all to attend the Red Mass. The Mass, dinner and speaker are hosted by the St. Thomas More Society of Fort Wayne.

Bishop Rhoades will celebrate the Red Mass in the South Bend area on Monday, Oct. 6, at 5:15 p.m. in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame.

Judge Kellams has served as a Circuit Court Judge in Monroe County, Indiana, for 34 years. Since 1983, he has taught trial advocacy at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, his alma mater. He served as a longtime member of the Judicial Ethics Committee of the Indiana Judicial Conference, chaired the committee when it reviewed the ABA Code of Judicial Conduct and made recommendations to the Indiana Supreme Court for revisions to the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct to provide clearer direction and comments to help guide the ethical decision making of judges.

Judge Kellams has given a number of lectures and moderated panel discussions for judges on the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The topic of Judge Kellams’ talk after the Red Mass, which will follow the dinner, is “The Balance of Faith and Profession.” His talk will explore his approach to his two vocations while keeping clear lines between Church and state consistent with ethical guidelines applicable to judges and attorneys.

Deacon Kellams, an ordained deacon of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, serves St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bloomington.

The deacon said of his duties: “My primary ministry is one of service to the sick and elderly; coordinating and training volunteers to visit the hospital, elder-care facilities and the homebound. I also always have a number of parishioners whom I visit, I fill in for the volunteers when they are unavailable and I spend time with those who are dying and their families, especially during the last days. I also serve at Mass, witness weddings, baptize infants, teach baptismal preparation and RCIA classes, lead rosaries and assist with funerals and committal services.”

He said his calling to the diaconate is a difficult concept to describe “and always sounded a little pretentious for me to state; as though God chose me as especially worthy,” Deacon Kellams noted. “Those of us in the ministry know only too well how unworthy we truly are, even though when called we respond. Nonetheless, a calling is a feeling, a longing, a tugging at the heartstrings to serve God. It is the confidence after much contemplation and prayer that we must surrender to it.”

Deacon Kellams said his parents instilled in him the obligation to help others “and thus I volunteer for various civic, legal and religious organizations,” he noted.

Deacon Kellams adheres to Paul’s words in his farewell speech at Miletus from Acts 20:35: “In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

As a judge and law professor, he said, “My faith is a guide for how I live my life and my hope is that it serves as an inspiration to others.”

Deacon Kellams offers encouragement to those in the legal and civil service to allow their faith to shape their decisions.

“People of faith in all traditions are taught to love God above all things and to love one’s neighbor,” he said. “Basic concepts of honesty, fairness, equity, kindness and mercy are applicable in any professional setting.”

The deacon and judge enjoys reading and is a devoted father and grandfather.

Those interested in learning more about the St. Thomas More Society of Fort Wayne can visit Father Mark Gurtner, the diocesan judicial vicar and chaplain of the society, celebrates Mass at 12:05 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month at the Archbishop Noll Catholic Center, 915 S. Clinton St., Fort Wayne.

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