The Honorable José R. Rodríguez is known for deep humility, dedicated service to the community and strong faith in Jesus Christ. These qualities, within his profession and personal life, exemplify the virtues espoused by St. Thomas More.
The Ninth Judicial Circuit Judge of Orange County will receive the St. Thomas More Award during a luncheon on Monday, June 24 after the Red Mass celebrated by Bishop John Noonan starting at 12:10 at St. James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.
Born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, he came to the United States at the age of 9. Judge Rodriguez earned an Associate of Arts degree cum laude from Miami-Dade Community in 1972, a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from Florida Technological University — now the University of Central Florida — in 1974 and a Juris Doctor from Florida State University College of Law in 1977.
Judge Rodriguez’s career as a lawyer and judge in Orange and Osceola counties spans 36 years and includes many highlights, including his 2004 appointment to the Florida Supreme Court Task Force on Drug Courts. His work in combating juvenile substance abuse has earned him recognition as a speaker, educator and author. In addition, Judge Rodriguez has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida and as a lecturer at the Circuit and County Judges’ educational conferences. Judge Rodriguez also serves on numerous professional and community boards and committees.
“Judge Rodriguez is a man who loves to talk about his faith and the importance of his relationship with the Lord,” said Kevin Shaughnessy, partner at BakerHostetler LLP in Orlando and chair of the Diocese of Orlando Red Mass Committee. “He brings Christ’s kindness to many people on a daily basis and is truly an instrument of the Lord.”
Members of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Winter Park, Judge Rodriguez and his wife, attorney Ana Tangel-Rodriguez, have two grown children.
About the St. Thomas More Award
The St. Thomas More Award is presented to a member of the legal profession whose accomplishments in some way represent the principles and ideals of St. Thomas More. The criteria for selection are listed below:
- Is a practicing Catholic, involved in his or her parish and a ministry of the Church;
- Displays a commitment to Catholic social teaching as borne out in his/her daily living;
- Promotes the application of Christian principles to modern problems, especially
insofar as they are connected with the law;
- Promotes the social, intellectual, and spiritual welfare of the people served through
- Helps the local Church and persons responsible for its institutions;
- Encourages all Catholic members of the bar to know and live their faith fully, both
in private and in public, by their daily example through word and deed;
- Offers personal sacrifice for the good of the community.
About St. Thomas More, Patron Saint of Lawyers
June 22 is the Feast of St. Thomas More, Protector of Lawyers. Thomas More was born into a noble family in London in 1477 and studied law. He enjoyed great fortune with the ascent of Henry VIII, who used him for diplomatic missions, had him knighted in 1521, and made him lord chancellor. He came to oppose the king, however, and refused to support him as the head of the English Church against the Roman Catholic Church. In 1535, he was accused of treason, imprisoned, and beheaded. A celebrated man of letters, More was the author of “Utopia” among other works. Beatified in 1886, he was canonized in 1935 by Pope Pius XI.