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Red Mass begins 30th year of the diocese’s St. Thomas More Society

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Father Robert Kennedy, retired dean of the canon law department of Catholic University, asked lawyers and judges who consider guilt and innocence of others in their work to think about the final judgment they will face after death.

Speaking in his homily at the St. Thomas More Society’s Red Mass Oct. 2 at St. Joseph on the Brandywine in Greenville, Father Kennedy reminded the members of the diocese’s legal society that while “we prefer to reflect on the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness,” it remains a “fundamental Christian belief that one day each of us is to stand alone in judgment.”

Frank Mieczkowski (left), president of the St. Thomas More Society, welcomes Father Robert Kennedy, homilist, and Bishop Malooly at the Red Mass Oct. 2 at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church. (The Dialog)

While Red Mass homilists often quote from Robert Bolt’s play “A Man for All Seasons” about St. Thomas More, Father Kennedy cited Shakespeare’s “Henry the VIII” for its look at Cardinal Wolsey, the chancellor of England whom King Henry replaced with St. Thomas More, the lawyer, martyr and saint. The Bard’s Wolsey laments that “had I but served my God with half the zeal I serv’d my king, he would not … have left me naked to my enemies.”

Father Kennedy asked the lawyers to ask themselves in light of final judgment, if their training in facts has blunted their sensitivity to the feelings of others, and if while working in matters of the intellect, “we failed in matters of the heart.”

Bishop Malooly celebrated the Red Mass, named for the color of the vestments the Mass that invokes the Holy Spirit to inspire legal professionals.

Father Kennedy was a concelebrant, with Msgr. Steven Hurley, vicar general; Father Leonord Klein, chaplain of The St. Thomas More Society; and Msgr. Joseph Rebman, pastor of St. Joseph’s.

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