Red Mass to honor legal profession
By Claire Kenney
Most Reverend Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades will celebrate the diocese’s annual Red Masses at St. Joseph Parish, South Bend, at 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2; and at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Fort Wayne, at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3. The tradition of the Red Mass dates back hundreds of years, to Europe, and is a way to offer prayers for those working in legal professions, in particular for God to grant them the grace to serve society with integrity.
Celebrated throughout the world at the start of the judicial session in October, the first recorded Red Mass dates back to 1245 when it was celebrated in Paris at a chapel built by Saint Louis the King known as La Sainte Chapelle. The name Red Mass derived from the red worn by royal judges long ago and the red worn by priests at the Mass. Red is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Church.
Traditionally, the Red Mass is associated with the Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit. This year, Bishop Rhoades will say the Votive Mass of St. Thomas More, the patron saint of lawyers, as part of the Red Mass celebration.
Christina Shakour, a 2016 graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, attended a Red Mass during her time as a student.
“I was inspired to attend because I was a law student and it (the Red Mass) is for those in the legal profession,” Shakour said. “The tradition of the Red Mass is important to me as it starts out the judicial session for the year. To me it means asking for God’s prayers for all the judges and lawyers involved so that the just decision is made.”
Shakour, who recently started working for a law firm based in South Bend, understands the importance of integrating faith and career.
“As a recent graduate, I intend for my Catholic values to influence the ethical and moral decisions I make for my clients and in every step I take in my career,” she said. “I hope it shapes the lawyer I become.”
Michael Mecurio, is a third year law student at Notre Dame, has also attended a Red Mass and finds it important to connect his faith with his work.
“I always try to remember that law is not just my career, but my vocation — a calling to serve people and glorify God in a special way.”
Mecurio says that his law school experience at Notre Dame taught him how to prayerfully pursue his career.
“I also learned from many professors at Notre Dame, like Rick Garnett, Patty O’Hara, and Matt Barrett, to begin my meetings and projects with a silent prayer to myself.”
Sean Kennedy, director of marketing and communications at St. Joseph Parish, South Bend, encourages all to attend the Red Mass.
“Although it is intended for those in or praying for the legal profession, all are welcome,” he said.
The University of Notre Dame’s Law School, department of political science and Interdisciplinary Program in Constitutional Studies are working with the diocese to coordinate the Mass and post-Mass reception. Individuals planning to attend the post-Mass reception should RSVP by e-mailing the diocesan office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the Fort Wayne Mass, a dinner and presentation will take place in the lower level of the Archbishop Noll Center. Glenn Tebbe, executive director of the Indiana Catholic Conference, will speak on “The Church and Politics in Indiana,” and attorneys will receive 1 hour of continuing legal education credit by attending. RSVP’s for this event should be made immediately to the St. Thomas More Society, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, P.O. Box 390, Fort Wayne, IN 46801. The cost is $35.