St. Thomas More Society, Sacramento, event to present the Father McDermott Award for Integrity

The Saint Thomas More Society of Sacramento (STMS) is pleased to announce that the annual Father Sylvester McDermott Award for Integrity will be presented to Jesuit Father Tom O’Neill at our in-person event on Thursday, June 22, 2023, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, at Cristo Rey High School Sacramento at 8475 Jackson Road, Sacramento.

The event will cost $20 to STMS members, $25 to non-members, $10 for law students, and is free for priests and religious (deacons, sisters, brothers). RSVP to For advance tickets, send checks (payable to STMS) to Mary Bressi, 1431 Teneighth Way, Sacramento CA 95815; For sponsorship information, contact Plauché Villeré,

About Father Tom O'Neill, SJ

Father Tom O’Neill, S.J., is currently an Associate Pastor at St. Ignatius Parish in Sacramento and Superior of the Sacramento Jesuit Community. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1976 and was ordained in 1990. He has an M.F.A in painting from the Pratt Institute in New York and worked in the Fine Arts Department at the University of San Francisco. Fr. Tom has taught art in a number of schools. For the past nine years, Fr. Tom has been involved in Recovery work, and he will continue this work in his next assignment in Los Angeles. STMS members are grateful for all the in-person and virtual STMS events that Fr. Tom has participated in, assisted with, or presided over through the years. STMS members are inspired by his creative talents and his ability to infuse the sublime into the secular.

About the Award

The Father McDermott Award for Integrity is named for the late Rev. Charles Sylvester McDermott, former Vicar for Theological and Canonical Affairs for the Diocese of Sacramento, and a founding member of STMS. Father Sylvester served as the group’s unofficial chaplain and advisor for many years.

The Father McDermott Award for Integrity recognizes persons of high integrity who can often go unnoticed in this hustle and bustle world. The first award was given in 2011 to (now- deceased) Bishop Francis A. Quinn, under whose auspices the Society was revived and encouraged and who modeled principled conviction. In 2012, attorney Ronald Blubaugh received the award in recognition of his career of public service and his advocacy and legal service with the Tommy Clinkenbeard Legal Clinic at Loaves and Fishes. The 2013 recipient of the Fr. McDermott Award for Integrity was Sister Jeanne Felion, celebrating her work of over 30 years for youth and seniors of Sacramento through the Stanford Settlement. In 2014, STMS honored Vicki Jacobs, managing partner at Voluntary Legal Services Program, for her tireless pursuit of equal access and justice for those that might “slip through the cracks.” STMS was proud to add Judge James Mize to this group in 2015, for his lifelong dedication to “wearing the white hat” and helping people through his long involvement with the Voluntary Legal Services Program and the Sharing God’s Bounty program at St Philomene’s Parish. The 2016 recipient was Sr. Libby Fernandez of Loaves & Fishes for her dedication to the social teachings of the Church. For his long career of work with legal aid and the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the 2017 award was bestowed on Sacramento attorney Paul Starkey. The 2018 award went to Father Tom Piquado, SJ, for his full history of pastoral work with diverse communities. Attorney and Deacon Sergio Diaz was presented the 2019 award for his bilingual work with the poor and imprisoned, and Judge Jaime René Román received a combined 2020-2021 award for his public service and devotion to justice and fairness. Last year, the 2022 award was presented to Bishop Jaime Soto for his leadership of the Diocese of  especially during the pandemic.

About STMS

The Saint Thomas More Society, Sacramento (STMS) is an independent organization sponsored by Catholic lawyers, governed by a Board, with its membership open to attorneys and other legal professionals and legislative advocates of any religious persuasion who subscribe to its purposes. The purposes of STMS are to serve as a mutual support group, to foster individual spiritual growth, to further interfaith understanding, to promote the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, and to advocate, encourage, and model respect, civility, and ethics in the practice of law. STMS does not engage in advocacy or take stands on controversial political questions; nor does it engage in fundraising.