Brooklyn’s judiciary and law communities gather for annual diocesan Red Mass

October 9, 2014 By Francesca Norsen Tate Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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As the new judicial season began, both for the United States Supreme Court and the local courts here in New York State and Brooklyn, the legal community gathered on Wednesday at St. James Cathedral-Basilica for the annual tradition of The Red Mass.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, presided at the concelebrated Mass at St. James Cathedral-Basilica. But the service was also interfaith in its welcome; and the intercessions included prayers for the judiciary and citizens of all three Abrahamic faiths — Muslim, Jewish and Christian.[[{“attributes”:{},”fields”:{}}]]

Members of the judiciary, Catholic Lawyers Guild, Columbian Lawyers Association and Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre joined the clergy in the liturgical procession and recession, and served as lectors and in other liturgical functions. Joseph S. Rosato, president of the Kings County Chapter of the Catholic Lawyers Guild, read the first Scripture passage from Isaiah. Justices Matthew D’Emic and Joseph Pesce, representing both organizations, presented the offering of the gifts. Gregory T. Cerchione of the Catholic Lawyers Guild read the Intercessions.

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An ancient practice dating back to the 13th Century in Catholic Europe, the Red Mass was a votive liturgy in honor of the Holy Spirit, according to the liturgy booklet that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn published for the Oct. 8, 2014 Red Mass. And, for centuries, the Sacred Roman Rota, the supreme judicial body of the Roman Catholic Church, has been identified with the Red Mass. Pre-Tudor England also had its Red Mass tradition, with the Lord High Justices vested in scarlet to represent the colors of wisdom, martyrdom and love to open Michaelmas term. Michaelmas refers to the feast of St. Michael and all Angels, which is observed on Sept. 29 each year.

The Very Rev. Patrick J. Keating, Kings County Chaplain of the Catholic Lawyers Guild, preached the homily: “We strive to live out our faith, and we strive each day to do what we can—whether it is as a member of the court, of the legal profession.”

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