Members of the legal profession at the 29th Annual Red Mass of the St. Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Wilmington were told to make the ministries of Pope Francis and of the recently canonized St. Teresa of Kolkata the models for their lives, models “of the respect and dignity for those we encounter and serve each day.”
The Red Mass invokes the gifts of the Holy Spirit on the work of lawyers, judges and others working in the law. Bishop Malooly was the main celebrant of the Oct. 3 Red Mass at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church in Greenville. Oblate Father Mark Mealey, judicial vicar of the diocesan Tribunal, was the homilist.
In addition to the example of the pope, Father Mealey said the pope and Mother Teresa exemplified how to live “our witness to faith,” best understood as “our vocation to charity.”
Father Mealey cited Mother Teresa’s simplicity, selflessness and commitment to serve “those society forgot” and her belief that every human being is made in the image of Christ.
“Each of us wanted, in some way, to support and encourage her work” because of her humility and total dependence upon God, he said.
The priest reminded the lawyers that Pope Francis said at St. Teresa’s canonization that we are all called to translate into “concrete acts” what we profess in faith.
“Those who put themselves in service to others, are those who love God,” Father Mealey told the lawyers.
The task the Lord gives Christians, he said, is the vocation to charity. He noted that Pope Francis arranged to give lunch to 1,500 of Rome’s poor after Mother Teresa’s canonization last month, Father Mealey said society needs this dedication to the needy because “so many of the poor are still unattended.”
“Since the beginning of his pontificate, the Holy Father has consistently reminded us to serve those most in need.”
The year of Mercy is being celebrated “so each of us can reach out to those in need in mind, in body and soul,” the judicial vicar told St. Thomas More Society members.
Noting the Red Mass’s Gospel story of the Good Samaritan, Father Mealey said Jesus’ parable tells us “we must be willing to help even if others brought trouble on themselves through their own fault”; our help must be practical; and our love for others must be “as wide as God’s love, no one is excluded. God’s love is unconditional.”
Father Mealey asked the St. Thomas More Society’s congregation to reflect on St. Teresa’s love for the poorest of the poor, as well as Pope Francis’ call to everyone to give “concrete reality to the vocation of charity.
“Let us choose the road less traveled, and that will make all the difference.”
The St. Thomas More Society is a group of lawyers of various faiths who are committed to More’s example. The saint was a chancellor of England, who was executed in 1535 after he did not support King Henry VIII in his divorce. Founded in 1988, the society has about 100 members. Christopher Viceconte is the current president of the society. Father Leonard Klein, administrator of the Cathedral of St. Peter, is the St. Thomas More chaplain.