The 12th annual Red Mass for judges, lawyers, lawmakers, their families and staff, was livestreamed on Oct. 28, 2020 from the Catholic Center in Venice.
The Mass, which was celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, invokes the blessing and guidance of the Holy Spirit upon those in the legal community. Bishop Dewane called upon the Holy Spirit to guide the work of all those involved in the formation, implementation and judgement pertaining to the law.
“As judges, lawyers and legal experts, your vocation is a most noble one and it ensures the good order of society,” the Bishop continued. “The work that you carry out pertains directly to express God’s will, God’s love for all people through justice which is due to every human being. The law is indeed a noble vocation.”
The Mass was organized by the Catholic Lawyers Guild and while the faithful were not present, the livestreaming in fact allowed more to access the celebration and hear the words of Bishop Dewane.
The Bishop took the opportunity to note that the law of the land and the law of the Gospel should balance each other. “The Founding Fathers were well aware that the law of the land is based on the law of God. However, God’s law is one that goes beyond the letter of the code of the Constitution, and that is why you (in the legal profession) play a crucial role in the life of the law as Catholic lawyers and judges and as men and women of Faith.”
Bishop Dewane said those in the legal profession are on the front line when it comes to protecting religious freedom, human life, dignity and many other rights. It is his prayer that all strive to make a difference by what is said and done with their responsibilities and by the way each offers leadership in the legal profession.
Evelyn Moya, executive director of Cenacle Legal Services Inc., said that since Bishop Dewane celebrated the first Red Mass in the Diocese on March 14, 2008, at St. Martha Parish in Sarasota, the interest and participation among the laity have steadily increased.
Moya noted that with a history intimately connected with medieval European royalty and the appeal to Divine sustenance by those entrusted with governance, legislation and public service; the Red Mass is assured of continued observance.
“Technology may increase the popular knowledge and understanding about the Red Mass,” Moya added. “The first virtual Red Mass celebrated by Bishop Dewane was viewed by over 250 people, many who were seeing a Red Mass for the first time. I myself shared the livestream to my family and friends abroad… There is awesome power in prayer. And splendor in any celebration where the Holy Spirit is invoked.”
In the United States, the Red Mass tradition was inaugurated in 1928 at Old Saint Andrew’s Church in New York City. Each October, before the start of the U.S. Supreme Court’s new term, a Red Mass is celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington. Florida Bishops celebrate a Red Mass for the Florida Legislature in Tallahassee each year.
Bishop Dewane concluded his remarks by saying “May we all continue to be connected to the Light of the Eucharist and reconnect ourselves to the noble profession that is the law.”
To view the Mass, please visit www.facebook.com/dioceseofvenice/videos.