News Briefs for the week of October 28, 2022

Red Mass in Sarasota Nov. 10

The Catholic Lawyers Guild of the Diocese of Venice invites you to the 14th Annual Red Mass at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, St. Martha Parish, 200 N. Orange St., Sarasota. Bishop Frank J. Dewane will be principal celebrant. The Red Mass celebrates all who pursue justice in their daily lives as is the time-honored tradition dating back to the 13th century. Today, the tradition still stands as an invocation of God’s blessing upon the members of the bench, bar, legislature, law enforcement and governmental agencies, all protectors of and administrators of the law.  We welcome all who participate in the administration of justice. We hope that you will be able to come to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and to strongly encourage and support the involvement of the legal community in spreading the Word of God. Kindly RSVP to Deacon Paul Consbruck at, or 941-966-6706.

 Students take action to prevent bullying

Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools participated in the annual Unity Day on Oct. 21, 2022, to take action in their world and stand up against bullying. For example, at St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring, students wore orange to school and took a pledge of acceptance, kindness, and inclusion.

Students wear pink to fight cancer

Pink, pink, and more pink. Once again Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota is making an impact and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer! More than 130 Cougars participated in the annual 5k walk on Oct. 22, 2022, at Nathan Benderson Park making Mooney the largest group to walk in the event. The Cougar team raised over $4,000 for breast cancer research.

Students get creative honoring saint

In anticipation of the Feast Day of St. John Paul II (Oct. 22, 2022), pre-kindergarten students at Ave Maria Catholic School and Donahue Academy in Ave Maria, made triptychs (a work of art divided into three panels) and miters (the headdress worn by the popes). What happy little saints-in-the-making!

Combining art and history

Students Advanced Placement Art History at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples took time out on Oct. 21, 2022, to created their own frescoes with plaster and tempera. Now, when they learn about Giotto’s Arena Chapel, they have a new appreciation for the amazing artwork of these masters.

STREAM project develops many skills

During a STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Class at St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton, on Oct. 24, 2022, second grade students have been learning to develop creative thinking skills by building an entrance to an amusement park ride. Through using innovative word block coding to program their project, when a photosensor sees a ticket of a specific color a light will turn green for “GO”!



The Red Mass: Historic tradition dating back to 13th century celebrated in Diocese

Invoking the Holy Spirit, Bishop Frank J. Dewane recently called upon legal professionals to have insight and grace and above all be people of mercy.

Bishop Dewane made these remarks during two Red Masses in late October for legal professionals. The name for the Masses 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 Diocesan Red Masses were celebrated on Oct. 21, 2021 at St. Martha Parish in Sarasota and Oct. 23 at St. Agnes Parish in Naples, but 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.

Bishop Dewane described the Red Mass as a cry from the heart for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the opportunity to pray for the strengthening of the link between the administration of our law and the ultimate justice that is the Gift of God.

“The Church is keenly aware of your promotion of the common good,” the Bishop stressed. “Your generous service is often a concrete manifestation to build a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive – to safeguard the right of individuals and communities and to reject any form of unjust discrimination.”

While the administration of the law is inevitably imperfect, legal professionals are often at the center of the debates facing a fierce passion of resentment.

“That debate must have a faith component,” Bishop Dewane added. “In essence, the contribution lies in the incessant proclamation of the transcendent dimension of the person; or the proof that every person is made in the image and likeness of God, comes from God, and is destined for God.”

“This truth of humanity is the source of our strong and unrelenting affirmation of the innate dignity of every human being,” the Bishop continued. “This is the witness of faith – this is that every person is endowed with the dignity that arises from our Creator.”

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 law deals with codified rights rather than an innate human dignity which resides in every human person,” Bishop Dewane concluded. “Here lies the tension which we often bring ourselves before the Lord.”

The Catholic Lawyers Guild of the Diocese of Venice sponsored the Mass in Sarasota. It was this organization which 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 the Bishop for his continued unfailing support and prayers for the legal community in the area. 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.

The Mass in Naples was celebrated as part of the Catholic Bar Association General Assembly and Annual Conference which took place from Oct. 22-23 at the Ave Maria School in Law.

Bishop Dewane was the main celebrant for the Conference’s Red Mass, with Most Rev. Felipe de Jesús Estévez, Bishop of St. Augustine, concelebrating and delivering the St. John Fisher Lecture during the closing Red Mass banquet.

Red Mass celebrated for legal community

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

Red Mass celebrated for legal community

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

With the idea that those who work in the judicial system touch the very fabric of our culture and society, a structure that must always first consider the dignity of the human being above all else, an annual Red Mass was held Oct. 22 at St. Catherine Parish in Sebring for legal professionals in Highlands County.

The Mass, which was celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane and concelebrated by priests from the area, invokes the blessing and guidance of the Holy Spirit upon those in the legal community.

“Our prayer is that you receive the grace of wisdom, courage, compassion and right judgement, while seeking always to uphold the dignity and the rights for every person and the good of the community,” Bishop Dewane said.

Citing the 1965 Vatican II document Dignitatis Humanae (Declaration on Religious Liberty), Bishop Dewane noted that is was partially based on the U.S. Bill of Rights, notably the First Amendment, the freedom of religion.

“Religious freedom means we have the right to live out our religious convictions in a modern society,” the Bishop continued. “To give witness to them. To be the leaven in society through the living of our faith. In our work regarding religious liberty; we are asking for space to serve with integrity.”

Bishop Dewane acknowledged that while those in the legal profession may serve the legal system in different ways, they first and foremost serve the Lord. The Red Mass serves as a poignant reminder, to those who participate, about who they are and from where they originate.

Highlands County Circuit Judge Anthony Ritenour expressed the feelings of many present best when he thanked Bishop Dewane for celebrating the Mass and inspiring the legal professionals of Highlands County to remember their roots which are based in faith.

“I always enjoy coming to this,” Judge Ritenour said. “The idea of Freedom of Religion that founded this country – that set the point for justice – is something we must all be reminded.”

Following the Mass, Judge Ritenour led the attorneys in the traditional renewing their oath. While leading the group, the judge put a particular emphasis on the closing words of the oath: “so help me GOD!”

The tradition dates to the 13th century Europe for the courts of the day and earned it’s name by the red robes worn by the judges. Liturgically, the Red Mass is celebrated as the Solemn Mass of the Holy Spirit. The traditional red color of the vestments worn by clergy during the Mass represent the tongues of fire symbolizing the presence of the Holy Spirit.

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. The first Red Mass in the Diocese of Venice was in 2008 and is celebrated annually in both Sarasota and Sebring. The 2019 Sarasota Mass in was Oct. 2 at St. Martha Parish.

Sarasota Red Mass Oct. 24

Red Mass celebrating 10 years: Free to Worship Without Fear: The First Amendment guarantees it

Evelyn L. Moya, Esq. (Special to the Florida Catholic)


Since the first Red Mass in the Diocese of Venice was held in Sarasota at St. Martha Church on March 14, 2008; more questions have arisen as to its significance, its history and purpose.

The Red Mass is a special liturgy steeped in Catholic Church tradition since 1245, when the first on record was held in the Cathedral of Paris. It is a liturgy based upon the prayers invoking the blessings of the Holy Spirit to bestow His gifts (among them: wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge) upon those who serve in the administration of justice.

The popular name “Red Mass’ was derived from the red vestments worn by the judges of the royal courts of Europe. However, it was King Edward I, who started the tradition in 1310, of convening the judges at Westminster Abbey for the annual Mass. The Red Mass is a continuing tradition in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Philippines, Scotland, Wales and other countries although Catholics may not be the majority of the countries’ population.

The first Red Mass in the United States was held at St. Peter and Paul Church in Detroit Michigan in 1877. However, the first official Red Mass is recognized as the one held in New York City in 1928. According to a Time Magazine article it was President Dwight Eisenhower, (Presbyterian) who encouraged his cabinet members to attend the Red Mass held in Washington, D.C., which he attended in 1953, in an effort “to show the nation’s communist adversaries that the United States was not anti-religion.”

Many criticisms have been leveled against the practice of the Bench and Bar attending a Catholic Mass together. However, it must be noted that the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees the freedom of every individual to worship in the manner of the individual’s choice.  After all, what is there to argue about when praying is asking for what is good. The Red Mass is open to every person of faith. Each event may include a renewal of the lawyer’s oath to serve in truth and justice.

At the nation’s capital, the Red Mass is celebrated annually on the Sunday before the first Monday in October, for opening of the term of the Supreme Court. Persons who serve in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the government have frequently participated. In Tallahassee, the Red Mass is held before the opening of the State Legislature and includes all of the Bishops of Florida.

The Red Mass is presided by a Bishop. It is usually hosted by a Diocese, or Catholic law organizations such as a Thomas More Society (named after the Catholic chancellor beheaded by King Henry VIII for disobedience), or the John Carroll Society (named after the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence) or the Catholic Lawyers Guild, such as the one hosting the Red Mass 5:30 p.m., Oct. 24 at St. Martha Parish, 200 N. Orange Avenue, Sarasota.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane will be the principal celebrant. The Mass is intended for judges, lawyers, lawmakers, their families, and staff.

The Catholic Lawyers’ Guild of the Diocese of Venice is also introducing an award to a person the Guild deems as demonstrating the exemplary attributes of a faithful servant of the law while giving glory to God.

For additional information about the Red Mass, please call 941-316-9200.

Bishop Dewane will also be celebrating a Red Mass at noon, Nov. 16 at St. Catherine Parish, 820 Hickory St., Sebring. All Catholic members of the legal profession in the Eastern Deanery (Highlands, Hardee, DeSoto, Glades and Hendry counties) are invited and encouraged to attend. For additional information, please call the Parish at 863-385-0049.