The Red Mass traditionally occurs at the start of the judicial year. It dates back 750 years when church leaders prayed for the Holy Spirit to bestow wisdom on judges, the courts and the legal system. It began in the United States in 1928. It's name comes from the colored vestments worn by the clergy. It is hosted by the St. Thomas More Society, a group of Catholic lawyers.
Prayers"strengthen our common home."
During his homily, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory reminded the judges and lawyers how some petitioners will seek mercy and others seeking financial relief. “People will come to you, whatever the hour, seeking justice, mercy, wisdom, but perhaps most importantly, the will come to you with hope,” he said.
Providing justice requires "patience, prudence, impartiality, integrity, and mercy," he said. He remarked the guests honored by the St. More Society have shown those gifts. Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley and Goff, both who lead their communities when their pain was real and deeply personal, he said.
The St. Thomas More Society hosted a lunch at the Capital City Club.
The first St. Francis of Assisi Award was given to the Rev. Dr. Norvell Goff Sr., an elder and interim pastor of Emanuel A.M.E. Church, Charleston, where nine people were fatally shot during a Bible study in June.
The shootings are proof evil is in the world, Goff said, but not the last word. "Our faith is stronger than fear. And love always overwhelms hate. Remember that God loves each and everyone of us. We are called to be our better selves.”
Other honorees by the organization were Joseph Riley, Jr., the mayor of Charleston, and Georgia Supreme Court Presiding Justice P. Harris Hines. They received the St. Thomas More Awards for a commitment to justice and humanity.