Diocesan News

Red Mass Asks Spirit to Guide Judicial Decisions

The Kings County Chapter of the Catholic Lawyers Guild and the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn observed the beginning of the court year Nov. 16 with their annual Red Mass at St. James Cathedral, Downtown Brooklyn.

Father Patrick Keating, chaplain for the guild, was the main celebrant. Special concelebrants included Msgr. Kieran Harrington, vicar for communications, and Father Peter Mahoney of Catholic Charities.

The Red Mass, 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.

“At the beginning of the court year we always get together. We are evoking the Holy Spirit on the members of the court,” said Father Keating in his homily. “The judges are here in their robes and lawyers and court personnel are here and members of their family all have gathered together. We are asking God for enlightenment so that the Holy Spirit guides the decisions that these men and women make. I pray for them all so that they continue to do good work and make the right decisions.”

Gregory Cerchione, treasurer of the guild, expressed pride in the tradition.

“It’s a celebration of the invocation of the Holy Spirit for the beginning of the judicial term,” he said. “Today brings together all faiths for divine providence and we pray for a fair and successful judicial year.

“We are bringing the faith and the parishioners together. It is great for the diocese to celebrate such a grand Mass in such a great church and with such great music. It was a beautiful service that hopefully can provide guidance for so many people who can then go out and serve the faith.”

Former President of the Guild, Sara Gozo, explained, “This is the bringing together of everyone involved in the courts. We ask attorneys, judges, court staff, and of course their families to come and be together with all of us. Every year we embark on this divine inspiration to assist us to give us the Holy Spirit to carry through in our cases.

“We ask for guidance in our decisions and the cases that we chose to take on we bring our faith to that it is who we are. So we are coming together to ask God for his assistance to help us through another year.”