When St. Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England during the reign of King Henry VIII, was beheaded for his allegiance to the Catholic Church, he told the gathered crowd, “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.” For statesmen like More, the celebration of the Red Mass signified not only the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in defending the truth, but also their willingness to shed their blood for the faith.
Continuing this historic tradition of the Church, Bishop John Noonan will celebrate the Red Mass on November 6, at 12:10 p.m. at St. James Cathedral in Orlando, invoking the intercession of St. Thomas More, patron saint of lawyers, for all members of the local judiciary. All are welcome to participate in the celebration of the Red Mass, where Catholics reaffirm their commitment to justice and their faith.
“We come to pray to seek not just the wisdom of the law but also the Creator of Wisdom and the Law,” said Bishop Noonan during the 2013 Red Mass homily. “St. Thomas More’s last words remain an inspiration for all those who dedicate their lives to the service of the common good.”
Following the Red Mass a luncheon reception will be held where the St. Thomas More award will be presented to a member of the legal profession who represents the ideals and values held by St. Thomas More. The St. Martin de Porres award will also be presented to an organization offering charity to people in need.
The celebration will also be the inaugural gathering for the newly formed Catholic Lawyers Guild, a lay Catholic organization whose focus is prayer, study, generosity and evangelization. The group seeks to help members integrate and further the Catholic faith of its members in their chosen profession.
“The Red Mass and reception are opportunities to reaffirm our commitment to justice and our faith in a public and communal way,” explains Keith Hesse, a parishioner of St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, local attorney and one of the organizers of the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Central Florida. “In addition to the Red Mass, we provide community, prayer, support and interaction. These are the main underpinnings for the establishment of the Catholic Lawyers Guild. The Guild will provide opportunities throughout the year for the legal profession to come together in a spirit of faith, fellowship and support.”
At guild events members will have the opportunity to meet, socialize, and pray with other Catholic members of the Catholic lawyers who are striving to live their faith.
For more information about the Red Mass Luncheon, visit http://tinyurl.com/odredmass. No registration is needed to participate in the celebration of Mass. For more information on the Catholic Lawyers Guild, contact Keith Hesse at: KHesse@cfjblaw.com or (407) 244-8221.