Brooklyn legal community embraces annual Red Mass
The Brooklyn Legal Community continued a tradition that goes back nearly 1,000 years and was originally brought to New York by Cardinal Patrick Hayes in 1928, when nearly 200 members gathered at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint James in Downtown Brooklyn for the annual Red Mass on Thursday.
The event is hosted by the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Kings County and the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn, but is attended by lawyers, jurists and court employees of all faiths.
“The venue for the mass is in a Catholic church, but it is important to note that this is an event that is meant for and welcoming to people of all faiths and backgrounds,” said Dominic Famulari, president of the Catholic Lawyers Guild. “We come away from it each year fortified in our faith and humanity as well as reminded of what our mission is as a legal community — to do right by everyone.”
The event typically takes place in September or October, which conveniently marks the start of a new season following the month of August, when many attorneys, especially families with small children, will take time off work and some courthouses will even close for two weeks.
“The Red Mass is like the kick-off of football season or opening day of the baseball season,” Famulari said. “As everyone returns from summer vacations, the Red Mass is designed to inspire and remind lawyers, judges and court personnel that we are all responsible to achieve justice for everyone. I think that the Very Reverend Patrick J. Keating, Esq. brought this home in his eloquent homily.”
The Very Rev. Keating has long been a part of the event going back years. However, he graduated from law school in 2017 and was admitted to the New York State Bar Association in December, which has given him a new appreciation for the event.
“I may be a little biased being in Brooklyn, but there is something unique about the Brooklyn court system — and that is a sense of family, more than simply colleagues,” Very Rev. Keating said. “I have witnessed this as you have gathered for funerals, as [you show] your concern for other members of the court, how you genuinely cheer the ups and downs and come together to mourn, to pray and to celebrate.”
The Very Rev. Keating helped to preside over the mass with the help of Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio and Rev. Peter Purpura. Famulari did a reading during mass along with Gregory Cerchione and Joseph Rosato, the president of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn.
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