Brooklyn Boro

Red Mass delayed, but Brooklyn legal tradition goes on

November 28, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Dominic Famulari, president of the Catholic Lawyers Guild; and immediate past President Hon. Lizette Colon. Eagle photos by Mario Belluomo
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Despite the fact that it had to be delayed a couple of months, the local tradition of the Red Mass was continued at St. James Cathedral Basilica in Downtown Brooklyn on Thursday, Nov. 16.

The Red Mass originated in the 13th century in Catholic Europe and was brought to New York by Cardinal Patrick Hayes in 1928, when he first called the legal profession together to worship at St. Andrew’s in downtown Manhattan.

Today, the tradition is carried on in Brooklyn thanks to the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Kings County and the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn, who host the joint event every year. The Red Mass is meant to evoke the holy spirit for good judicial gain.

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Members from each organization, including Gregory Cerchione, President of the Catholic Lawyers Guild Dominic Famulari and President of the Columbian Lawyers Association Linda LoCascio, each read Bible passages from the Book of Ezekiel, the Epistles to the Corinthians and the Gospel of John.

“It’s the start of the judicial season and it’s very important that everyone gets in touch with why we’re doing this and the spirit of doing the right thing,” Famulari said.

The Very Rev. Patrick J. Keating and Rev. Peter A. Mahoney led the Mass. Both priests have for a long time been unofficial members of the Brooklyn legal community. Keating was especially congratulated during the event because he recently graduated from Brooklyn Law School and passed the New York State Bar.

“It’s very nice to have Father Patrick, who we’ve been fortunate to have had with us for a long time,” Famulari said. “Now, he can be a Catholic lawyer, actually. I give him a lot of credit for going to law school. He has a lot of jobs and works hard.”

This year’s Mass, which typically takes place in early October, was delayed due to renovations to the building. Rather than move the Red Mass from its annual spot, the two groups decided to wait a month and a half.


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