Msgr Ambrose Vaz blessing members of the legal profession at the Red Mass on Jan 12.

The special mission that members of the legal fraternity play in society was highlighted during a special Mass on Jan 12.

“We especially need you in society and the Church to bring truth and justice to the people; and truth and justice are not concepts but a person – Jesus Christ,” Msgr Ambrose Vaz told about 130 members of the legal profession during the Mass at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.

To do this, they need to have a relationship with God so that He will be the centre of their lives, and this will help them discern His will for them and the people they serve, said Msgr Vaz at the annual “Red Mass” organised by the Catholic Lawyers Guild (CLG).

Msgr Vaz also thanked the CLG for its pro bono legal services to the needy.

The Red Mass invokes the Holy Spirit’s guidance on the legal profession and the intercession of its patron saint, St Thomas More, a martyr.

The first recorded “Red Mass” was celebrated in 1245 in Paris. As the liturgical colour for votive masses of the Holy Spirit and martyrs is red, the celebration became popularly known as the Red Mass.

The highlight of the Mass was the Prayer to St Thomas More by CLG members and Msgr Vaz’s laying-on of hands over them to invoke the gifts and blessings of the Holy Spirit.

During the offertory, together with the gifts of bread and wine, the scales of justice, the White Book (the Rules of the Supreme Court) and a lawyer’s court robe were brought to the altar by the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Deputy Attorney-General Lionel Yee, a senior practising lawyer, a junior practising lawyer and a law student respectively.

The lector, cantor, commentator, pianist and choir were also all members of the legal profession.

Present at the Red Mass (from left): Catholic Lawyers Guild president Peggy Yee, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Caritas chairperson Janet Ang.

At a dinner after Mass, CLG president Peggy Yee shared how the organisation had held members’ retreats and prayer meetings last year and is planning a workshop this year. Last year, the CLG assisted with 138 cases of legal advice, 14 cases of legal representation and two mediation cases, all pro bono, she noted.

Commenting on the celebration, Ms Sonia Rajendra, a first-year Singapore Management University law student said: “Seeing the unity and commitment of the legal community gave me such a sense of belonging!”

Sr Sylvia Maria Ng, an executive officer of the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants & Itinerant
People (ACMI) to which CLG renders pro bono legal consultation services, said she is “thankful that our Catholic lawyers are striving to ensure that God becomes the foundation and focal point of their legal ministry”.

“My prayers are with them,” said the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary nun.

For more information on the Catholic Lawyers Guild, call 6801-7494, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit www.clgsingapore.com.

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