Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre celebrated the annual Red Mass for members of the legal profession Sept. 26 telling those who’d gathered they must strive to join mercy and justice in their practice of the law.
The liturgy, celebrated at the Cathedral of the Assumption, calls down the Holy Spirit on those who work in the field of law.
During his homily, Archbishop Fabre told the congregation — which included judges dressed in black robes — that the “principle of mercy” should never be forgotten in their work.
“In your role, you must seek to bring together justice, the observance of the law and mercy,” he said, noting it’s not always easy to “join mercy and justice. It’s another reason we gather to pray for you and call down the Holy Spirit upon you.”
The principle of mercy should “work alongside justice,” he said.
He noted that Pope Francis wrote in his papal bull of indiction, “The Face of Mercy,” that justice and mercy are not “ ‘two contradictory realities, but two dimensions of a single reality that unfolds progressively until it culminates in the fullness of love.’ ”
The pope and the church, the archbishop noted, have an appreciation for the role legal professionals play in “promotion of justice and the rule of law.”
“The role you fulfill is a daunting one … but an important one,” he said. “You willingly embrace the task even though it’s not easy.”
The archbishop called the congregation’s attention to the first reading from the book of Isaiah, where the prophet says that the servant who works for justice pleases God and that God has promised to “uphold” them.
In a similar manner, Archbishop Fabre said, God “upholds you in your effort to strive for justice and the rule of law.”
He thanked the professionals for attending the Mass and said he was “deeply grateful” for their work.
Before concluding the liturgy, he led the congregation in praying “A Lawyer’s Prayer to St. Thomas More,” the patron saint of lawyers and legal professionals.