April 23, 2010
Red Mass Seeks Inspiration for Lawyers
~ written by Hon. David E. Cain
Pagentry, dignity and prayers for guidance in the legal profession.
Readings, homily and communion.
A host of priests in red robes.
Congregational singing led by the cathedral brass.
Service followed by a reception in the undercroft with great food and drinks.
It’s all part of the annual Red Mass, to be held at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 4, 2010, at the St. Joseph Cathedral, 212 E. Broad St.
As usual, the event is sponsored by the Thomas More Society of Columbus, conducted by the Catholic Diocese of Columbus, and considered part of the overall Law Day activities.
The tradition of Red Mass actually began in Europe nearly 800 years ago, with the red vestments worn by the ministers symbolizing the Holy Spirit (sometimes called God’s fire). The first celebration of Red Mass in this country was in New York City in 1928. Now, it is usually held in Washington, D.C., in the Fall before the opening of the Supreme Court’s judicial year. Red Mass became a regular annual event in Columbus in 1985, under the sponsorship of the Thomas More Society, according to Alphonse P. Cincione, the society’s longtime president.
The society tries to gather its colleagues of all faiths in prayer for guidance, strength and recommitment to the highest principles of the profession, Cincione commented.
It took More (Lord Chancellor of England 1529-1532) as its namesake because his life exemplified his famous last words: “The King’s Good Servant – But God’s First.” More’s belief that no man is above the law cost him his life after he refused to grant King Henry VIII a marriage annulment.
The cost of the mass and reception are covered by the society’s $30 annual dues and donations by individual lawyers and law firms.