From the community

Red Mass held in Portland

Posted Oct. 04, 2013, at 5:48 p.m.

PORTLAND—Lawyers, canonists, judges and other members of the legal community gathered for the 2013 Red Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland on Friday, Oct. 4. The annual Mass celebrated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland invokes God’s blessing and guidance in the administration of justice. 

“For all the talk about the so-called ‘wall of separation of Church and State’, we know that there is also much in common,” said Monsignor Michael J. Henchal during his homily. “Most of the time, you and I, civil law and canon law, Church and State, are working on the same side of that wall; for we share a common purpose: the advancement of the common good.”

The name of the Red Mass derives from the red vestments worn by the celebrants of the Mass. The vestments symbolize the presence of the Holy Spirit and are reminiscent of the traditional bright scarlet robes worn by the attending royal judges centuries ago.  The Red Mass is also celebrated annually in Washington, D.C. and is attended by members of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.

On Friday morning, in Bishop Malone’s absence, Monsignor Paul F. Stefanko served as principal Celebrant, joined by other priests and deacons of the Diocese of Portland.

Following the Red Mass, a luncheon was hosted at the Portland Country Club in Falmouth. The featured speaker at this year’s Red Mass Luncheon was Rabbi David G. Dalin, a professor of history and politics at Ave Maria University in Florida who is a widely-published scholar of American Jewish history and Catholic-Jewish relations.

Rabbi Dalin is the author, co-author or editor of eleven books and has written extensively on Catholic-Jewish relations and the history of the relationship between the Papacy and the Jewish people.

For more information on the 2013 Red Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, contact Dave Guthro, Communications Director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, at 321-7810, or at dave.guthro@portlanddiocese.org.

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