Preach at LA 39e Annual “Red Mass,” the Pope’s Ambassador to the United States called on members of the legal community to stand up for the voiceless in society even in the face of political pressure or the threat of being “canceled”.
“It is not always easy to do the right thing, to defend the dignity of the person, of the needy, of the poor, of the voiceless in our society,” said Bishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio in the United States. , in his homily to the Liturgy of October 20 at Notre-Dame-des-Anges Cathedral.
“It is not easy to take a stand,” he continued, “when there is so much political pressure on you and instead of tolerating differences and seeking solutions through dialogue, the threat imminent cancellation scares “.
“At such times,” he added, “we must ask for strength from the Spirit of God, keeping in mind the words of Saint Paul:“ I can do anything through Him who strengthens me.
Organized by the local chapter of the Society of St. Thomas More, the Red Mass is an ecumenical and civic celebration that honors judges, lawyers, legislators and legal professionals, typically celebrated at the start of the legal year in many Catholic dioceses. The Wednesday evening liturgy was presided over by the Archbishop of Los Angeles José H. Gomez.
Coming a year after the Red Mass 2020, which was limited to virtual attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several prominent civic figures attended this year’s liturgy. Among those who read prayer requests during Mass were acting American lawyer Tracy Wilkison; Pete Peterson, Dean of the Pepperdine School of Public Policy; and LAPD’s most senior female officer, Deputy Chief of Operations, Beatrice Girmala.
In keeping with tradition, several representatives of other faiths, including Islam, The Church of Latter-day Saints and various Protestant denominations, were introduced to Mass by the longtime LA leader of interfaith dialogue and Greek priest. -Catholic Rt. Reverend Alexei Smith. The ceremonial guard of honor for the Mass was led by members of the Knights of Saint-Pierre Claver and the Knights of Columbus.
Vince Farhat, president of the St. Thomas More Society of Los Angeles, said the ecumenical aspect of the Red Mass is an invitation for non-Catholics to reflect on the legacy of the 16th.e holy century, who was beheaded by the English crown for choosing to defend his Christian faith rather than loyalty to the king.
“We believe that Saint Thomas More is a role model for lawyers of all faiths,” Farhat told Angelus. “Because everyone is welcome to this Mass, we intend to invite people who are not Catholics to Mass, so that they can discern and consider this [More’s] example and life means to them, and also to be welcome in our church.
In the words of the keynote speaker, LA Superior Court Judge Stephen M. Moloney, the Mass was an opportunity to come together “as judges, lawyers, political, government and religious leaders, recognizing that the spirituality is fundamentally important in our daily life ”.
In his remarks, Moloney also recalled how the words of his seventh-year Catholic schoolteacher – ironically named Sister Thomas More – guided him through his legal career.
“She told me that I could accomplish great things if I was willing to work hard,” said Moloney, who previously studied for the priesthood at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo before studying law at the Jesuit University of Santa Clara. . “She was right.”
Moloney said the nun often comes to his mind at the inevitable sight of the homeless tents visible around the downtown courthouse where he works.
“I know Sister would remind me that they have a right to justice, just like anyone who appears in court,” he said.
In his homily, Bishop Pierre listed some of the ways in which the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit could help guide civic and legal professionals in their work. The supernatural gift of understanding, suggested the French prelate, was particularly important in a world “filled with the superficial and ephemeral, lived in sound bites and tweets” and driven by ideologies.
“God calls you, the members of our judicial and legal systems, to be serious and upright people, ready to engage in public discourse and debate, ready to be changed by an encounter with the truth,” said Archbishop Peter.