September 20. 2012 12:40AM

Nashua judge will receive St. Thomas More Award

MANCHESTER — U.S. District Court Judge Joseph N. Laplante will be honored by the Catholic Lawyers Guild following the annual Red Mass, which will be celebrated by Manchester Bishop Peter A. Libasci.

The Red Mass will take place at 5:15 p.m. on Oct. 25 in St. Joseph Cathedral. The annual celebration offers members of the legal community, including judges, government officials, lawyers, lawmakers and law enforcement officials, an opportunity to reflect on the power and responsibilities of their offices.

The Mass is open to people of all faiths.

Following the Red Mass, the Catholic Lawyers Guild will hold its annual dinner at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester at which Laplante will become the seventh recipient of its St. Thomas More Award.

The award is given to a judge or lawyer who is a practicing Catholic and embodies St. Thomas More's spirit of courage, dedication, integrity, civility and compassion toward others.

Laplante was appointed to the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire in 2007 and became chief judge in 2012.

He previously was a New Hampshire senior assistant attorney general, serving in the office's homicide unit; a task force prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington and Los Angeles; and an assistant U.S. attorney in Concord and Boston.

Laplante has served on numerous boards, including the Rivier University Board of Trustees, the Nashua Police Athletic League, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation's Nashua Region Board, the advisory board for the advanced studies program at St. Paul's School, the St. Christopher's School Advisory Board, and several ad hoc committees and boards for the city of Nashua and Nashua School District.

New Hampshire Magazine named Laplante the state's top prosecutor in 2003. He was selected for the New Hampshire Union Leader's inaugural “Forty under 40” listing in 2002. He received the New Hampshire Bar Foundation's Robert Kirby Award, the Nashua Bar Association's Edward “Ted” Jordan Humanitarian Award, two New Hampshire Congressional Law Enforcement Awards and several New England Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Awards.

Laplante and his family are active parishioners of St. Christopher Parish in Nashua, where Laplante is a lector and religious education teacher. He also is a Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) athletics coordinator for St. Christopher's parish and school; former president of the Souhegan Deanery CYO basketball and cheerleading league; and has served on the Diocesan Athletic Board. He volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua and Corpus Christi Food Pantry and is also a boxing referee.

Laplante graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and cum laude from Georgetown Law School.

Tickets to the dinner are $30 and may be purchased before Oct. 5 by contacting RedMass@Wadleighlaw.com.

Proceeds will be donated to New Hampshire Catholic Charities Immigration and Refugee Services.