By Richard Meena, Jr.
On September 5, 2018, the annual Red Mass will be held at 12:15 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville. The event is for persons of all faiths who serve in the legal community. This includes attorneys, paralegals, secretaries, assistants, clerks, staff, courthouse personnel, law students, and all those working in the legal field.
It is believed that the first Red Mass was celebrated at the Cathedral of Paris in 1245. The Mass was held at the beginning of the judicial year in many European countries. The first such Mass in the United States was in 1928 at the Church of St. Andrew in New York City. Perhaps the most well-known Red Mass is held at the beginning of October in Washington D.C. at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. This Mass coincides with the opening of the United States Supreme Court’s annual term and has been attended by the President of the United States and United States Supreme Court Justices of different faiths. The Red Mass gets its name from the red garments worn by the clergy. These red garments are worn because the Mass is an invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the legal community.
The 2017 Red Mass in Louisville was well attended, with several judges in attendance and Archbishop Kurtz presiding. I left the Cathedral that day feeling proud to be an attorney and with a renewed sense of purpose. Archbishop Kurtz’s homily was in part about an attorney whose simple kindness and generosity had deeply affected someone in need. For all its faults, the legal system gives those in our profession tremendous opportunities on a daily basis to impact and make real change in people’s lives. I was reminded of that responsibility at the Mass, and I have used the Mass as an inspiration throughout the year.
This is a wonderful opportunity to come together once a year as a real community and renew our responsibility to help those in need. I hope to see you there.
Richard Meena, Jr. is an attorney in Louisville with the Richard Meena, Jr. Law Office.