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Bishop Offers Red Mass For Diocesan Legal Community

Server Michael Moseby holds the book of prayers as Bishop Joseph M. Siegel offers a special blessing for members of the legal community during the Diocesan Red Mass, held on Oct. 13 at St. Benedict Cathedral in Evansville. The Message photo

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel celebrated the annual Diocesan Red Mass for members of the legal community on Oct. 13 at St. Benedict Cathedral in Evansville. The liturgy was the Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit. The worship aid for the Mass explained:

“’Votive’ comes from the Latin word votum, or a special intention. The Mass is celebrated in honor of the Holy Spirit as the source of wisdom, understanding, counsel and fortitude, gifts which shine forth preeminently in the dispensing of justice in the courtroom as well as the individual lawyer’s office. The prayers and blessings are focused on the leadership roles of those present, and to invoke divine guidance and strength.”

In his homily, Bishop Siegel noted that the tradition of the Red Mass dates to the 1200s. Its intent has always been to inspire lawyers and guide judges to approach their responsibilities with justice, mercy and integrity.

The Gospel reading for the Mass, from John, focuses on Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocateto be with you always,the Spirit of truth,which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you” (John 14:15-17).

The bishop explained that Jesus’ promise was fulfilled at Pentecost, and that the Holy Spirit enables all of us to witness to others. He noted that the Holy spirit needs our cooperation. “Christ needs us to do our part,” he said.

The bishop added that we must open ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and take time for prayer. He noted the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, praying the Rosary or just spending time with the Scriptures are wonderful ways to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit.

He prayed that God would provide the grace members of the legal community – through the Holy Spirit – the grace they need to fulfill their work in ways that are pleasing to God. He concluded with the responsorial psalm for the Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit: “Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the Earth” (Psalm 104:30).