LAKE CHARLES – Bishop Glen John Provost will be the celebrant for the annual Red Mass on Friday, Oct. 20, at 8:30 a.m. in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Father Edward Richard, M.S., pastor of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church will be the homilist.
Father Richard is the Chaplain to the local Thomas More Society, Judge Henry Yelverton Chapter, which along with the Diocese of Lake Charles, sponsors the event. He is a former practicing attorney, holding a Juris Doctor from Louisiana State University (1983) and a doctorate in moral theology from Academia Alfonsiana, Pontifical Lateran University in Rome (1996).
Judges, attorneys, and government officials from the five civil parishes of the Diocese of Lake Charles – Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis – are invited to attend. All are welcome.
The Mass is so named because of the color of the vestments worn by the Bishop and priests, donned in symbolism of the tongues of fire that descended on the Apostles. Additionally, Judges of the High Court of England and all doctors of law wore red robes or academic hoods.
Bishop John M. D’Arcy of Fort Wayne describes the Mass; “The purpose of the Red Mass is to ask the Lord to send his Holy Spirit on lawyers, judges and public servants that they may have that same spirit of integrity and goodness as they serve the law and their fellow citizens.”
The Red Mass is celebrated at the opening of the judicial year and requests guidance from the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice and offers the opportunity to reflect on what Catholics believe is the God-given power and responsibility of all in the legal profession.
The first recorded Red Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral of Paris in 1245. From there, it spread to most European countries. Around 1310, during the reign of Edward II, the tradition began in England. It was attended at the opening of each term of Court by all members of the Bench and Bar. The event gradually fell out of fashion until 1931, when Sydney became the first English-speaking city to re-institute the practice. The first Red Mass held in the United States was celebrated in St. Andrew's Church in New York City, near the courthouses of Foley Square.