LEWISTON—Bishop Robert P. Deeley, J.C.D., will serve as the principal celebrant and homilist at the Red Mass at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, at the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul, 122 Ash St.
Judges, lawyers, canonists, government officials, and people of all faiths are invited to attend the annual Mass. The bishop will ask for God’s blessing upon those who serve in the legal profession and public service and for God’s guidance in the administration of justice.
“By gathering together at the Red Mass, we will see the practice of the law as service, as our way of bringing God’s love into our world,” said Bishop Deeley. “By so doing, we will witness to the truth which is Jesus Christ, who is the bearer of God’s love, and we will change the world we live in as we faithfully pursue justice.”
Bishop Deeley himself has an extensive background in the legal field. In 1978, with his appointment as Secretary to the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Boston, he began a ministry in the Tribunal which would last for over 20 years, including ten years as Judicial Vicar. He assumed the presidency of the Canon Law Society of America in 2000 and served at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 2004-2011. The bishop earned both a Licentiate of Canon Law degree in 1983 and a Doctor of Canon Law degree (summa cum laude) in 1986 from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In October of 2016, the bishop was named the recipient of the “Role of Law Award,” the Canon Law Society of America’s most prestigious honor, and last November, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) elected Bishop Deeley as the new chairman-elect of the USCCB’s Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance.
The Red Mass is a tradition that dates back to the early Middle Ages when Pope Innocent IV is said to have invited the Ecclesiastical Judicial Court in 1243 to gather to ask God’s blessing through the invocation of the Holy Spirit on the work that would be conducted in the court. The red vestments worn by celebrants symbolize the presence of the Holy Spirit and are reminiscent of the traditional bright scarlet robes worn by the attending royal judges centuries ago.
Following the Mass, a luncheon will be held at DaVinci’s Italian Eatery on 150 Mill Street in Lewiston, starting at 12:15 p.m. Julia Sleeper, the executive director of Tree Street Youth in Lewiston, will serve as keynote speaker. Tree Street Youth provides local children with a safe space that encourages healthy physical, social, emotional, and academic development while building unity across lines of difference.
Interested parties can attend the Mass only, the luncheon only, or both. To register for the luncheon, visit www.portlanddiocese.org/RedMass.