Red Mass for legal professionals celebrated in Sarasota

Invoking the Holy Spirit, Bishop Frank J. Dewane recently called upon legal professionals to exhibit insight and grace and above all be people of mercy. Bishop Dewane made these remarks during the 15th Annual Red Mass on Oct. 18, 2023, at St. Martha Parish in Sarasota.

The name for the Red Mass comes from the red vestments worn by the celebrants, and for the calling of grace and guidance from the Holy Spirit to come upon all who seek and serve justice.

The history of the Red Mass dates to the mid-1200s when Pope Innocent IV celebrated a Mass in the Cathedral of Paris for the Ecclesiastical Judicial Court. Pope Innocence invoked the Holy Spirit as a source of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude and strength for the coming term of the court.

During the Mass, the Bishop reminded the legal professionals that mercy is personal and they only need to remember that there are good people at the heart of what they do and affected by the decisions they make.

The Catholic Lawyers Guild of the Diocese of Venice sponsored the Mass in Sarasota. It was this organization that brought the first Red Mass to the Diocese of Venice in 2008 in an effort to emulate similar, more well-known Masses which take place each year for the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., and by the Florida Bishops for the Florida Legislature in Tallahassee during the annual Catholic Days at the Capitol.

Guild members thanked Bishop Dewane for his continued unfailing support and prayers for the legal community in the area. A reception followed in the Parish Hall.

The Catholic Lawyers Guild of the Diocese is a not-for-profit corporation formed exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, to promote the spiritual, intellectual and social welfare of its members, who serve the cause of justice consistent with Roman Catholic moral teaching.