Bishop Solis at Red Mass: Our country needs role models to set good and right examples
Friday, Oct. 15, 2021
Bishop Oscar A. Solis gives the homily at the Oct. 8 Red Mass at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Concelebrating were Fr. Martin Diaz, cathedral rector, and Fr. Langes Silva, judicial vicar. Deacon Drew Petersen assisted.
SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the legal profession and the armed forces gathered Oct. 8 for the annual Red Mass in the Cathedral of the Madeleine, at which Bishop Oscar A. Solis presided.
Concelebrants were the Very Rev. Martin Diaz, the cathedral rector; and the Very Rev. Langes Silva, the diocesan judicial vicar. Deacon Drew Petersen assisted.
The Red Mass is a centuries-old tradition that asks for the guidance of the Holy Spirit for all members of the legal profession, regardless of religious affiliation; in the Diocese of Salt Lake City, members of the military also are included in the prayers. The name of the Mass comes from the red vestments worn by the ministers, which are symbolic of the tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit.
The first Red Mass that was recorded was celebrated in the Cathedral of Paris in 1245; from there the tradition spread to other countries. In the United States, the first Red Mass was celebrated in 1877 at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Detroit, Mich.
As he began his homily, Bishop Solis welcomed the “judges, lawyers, law professors and students, peace officers and other civic officials” to the cathedral. “We dedicate this day to pray for you and with you to invoke God to send us the Holy Spirit so that you may be blessed with his manifold gifts in carrying out the sacred responsibilities of your office,” he said.
The local community, the nation and the world are in the midst of trying times, with the coronavirus and the toxic effect of polarization and disunity, he said; people in the legal professions face not only the difficulties posed by these problems but also of “carrying the burdens in the exercise of your responsibilities – dispensing justice while representing or prosecuting someone charged with a crime, enforcing the law, or responding to emergencies and domestic violence calls to maintain peace and order in our society.”
Humanity seems to have lost its ability for civil dialogue, he said, and “As leaders in our respective professions and public servants, our country needs role models to set good and right examples of loving communities. We begin by humbly recognizing our limitations and seek the help of a higher power, to turn to God and renew our faith and trust in him who is the source of wisdom, knowledge, understanding and courage; he is the glue that holds our fragmented society together.”
The bishop acknowledged that for the most part the only thing the wider community can do to alleviate the difficulties of the legal community is “to offer prayers for you and express our solidarity with you as members of one community who share a common home, as well as everyone’s aspiration for peace, unity and harmony in our world.”
Bishop Solis prayed that God might guide and protect those engaged in the practice of law and in the administration of justice and peace.
“May Our Lord impart in you the grace of courage and the strength to help overcome the deadlier virus of polarization and disunity we face, by molding you as genuine witnesses, instruments of communion, and bridges of greater unity to help us establish one nation and one family that treats each other with mutual respect and love as brothers and sisters,” he said.
“As we pray today in this Mass, may you receive the Holy Spirit, to remain faithful and persevering as public servants and learn to follow what Pope Francis promotes in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti – a global solidarity and social friendship according to God’s design so that love, justice, unity, and peace may prevail in our nation and in the world,” he said.