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 The chief celebrant and homilist was Most Reverend Rutilio del Riego, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino.

 In the opening procession, Michelle Lauron carried a banner depicting the Holy Spirit, the Scales of Justice, and the Ten Commandments, symbolizing the impartiality of justice and how all must work toward the fair and equal administration of the law, without corruption, avarice, prejudice or favor.

 At the reception immediately following the Mass, Judge Virginia Phillips presented Ralph K. Hekman with the Saint Thomas More Award. The Saint Thomas More Award is given to an attorney or a judge whose conduct in his or her profession is an extension of his or her faith, who has filled the lives of the faithful with hope by being a legal advocate for those in need, who has shown kindness and generosity of spirit, and who is overall an exemplary human being. 

 For over fifty years, Hekman has made significant contributions to the Riverside community through his church, Calvary Presbyterian, and through the Public Service Law Corporation (PSLC), the pro bono program of the Riverside County Bar Association. He has also volunteered thousands of hours at the legal aid clinic operated by PSLC. He continues to directly represent the elderly, poor, disadvantaged, and underprivileged in probate, guardianship, real property, and other general civil matters in his private practice. In 1999, Hekman received the California State Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award.

 “Ralph Hekman is a quiet and humble man who has benefitted and encouraged countless people by his knowledge, his talents, and his unwavering dedication. He is the true good Samaritan, in life and in the law,” stated James Otto Heiting, past State Bar President and past president of the Riverside County Bar Association. 

 The Red Mass Committee is accepting nominations for the 2015 Saint Thomas More Award. The award will be given at the reception following next year’s Red Mass, which will be held in October 2015. If you have any questions or would like to be involved in the planning of next year’s Red Mass, please call Jacqueline Carey-Wilson at (909) 387-4334 or Mitchell Norton at (909) 387-5444.

Jacqueline Carey-Wilson is deputy county counsel for the County of San Bernardino, immediate past president of the Riverside County Bar Association, and co-chair of the Red Mass Steering Committee.