The Kings County Chapter of the Catholic Lawyers Guild and the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn observed the start of the court year Oct. 25 with their annual Red Mass at St. James Cathedral, Downtown Brooklyn.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was the main celebrant of the Mass. Concelebrating the liturgy was Father Patrick Keating, a lawyer and chaplain for the guild.
Father Keating said he was happy to have people of the law come together in faith. “Today we celebrate the annual Red Mass which really marks the beginning of the judicial calendar,” he said.
“We ask that all lawyers and judges use their legal minds but also their faith to help guide them. We pray for all those we have lost in the past year as we here in the Brooklyn Diocese are not just colleagues, but we are a family.”
“So, we come together tonight to pray for another year but also to come together and be with one another in faith.”
The Red Mass, celebrated at the opening of the court year, has been a tradition throughout Europe for centuries. It was first observed in New York in 1928 when Cardinal Patrick Hayes gathered judges and lawyers for the liturgy.
The Catholic Lawyers Guild of Brooklyn dates to the 1930s. Organized by and for Brooklyn Catholic lawyers as a forum for discussing the legal and social issues of the day, the guild has always maintained a dedication to the ideals of the Catholic laity.
Addressing those lawyers gathered for the Mass, Bishop DiMarzio said, “We pray for justice and peace. We ask God to always help all of us with our work and to guide us tonight. We ask that He looks down on the judges and lawyers to help them make the right decisions. Sometimes we fail to understand God’s call to be wise. We ask for Him to give us strength to continue administer justice properly.”
Gregory Cerchione, treasurer of the guild, takes part in the Mass nearly every year. “We pray tonight that the Holy Spirit is able to provide us all with the strength to never give up in the pursuit of justice.
“We also ask for guidance in our decision making and hope we always have our faith with us when we face such difficult decisions.”