Participants of the Red Mass included (from left): Prof Tan Cheng Han (Caritas), Ms Peggy Yee (Catholic Lawyers Guild), Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Solicitor-General Kwek Mean Luck and Ms Janet Ang (Caritas Board of Trustees).
Catholic members of the legal fraternity were urged to use their skills for the good of society and to work for justice.
“In good conscience, you must communicate justice and truth in love and compassion,” said Father John Bosco during the Catholic Lawyers Guild’s 17th Annual Red Mass on Jan 11.
He told the 150 people gathered at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd that they can only achieve this by seeking the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The Red Mass is celebrated annually to mark the opening of the legal year in Singapore.
The first recorded Red Mass was in 1243 in Paris when, during a Mass, Pope Innocent IV invoked the Holy Spirit’s blessings on members of the judiciary for the coming term of the court. As the liturgical colour for votive masses of the Holy Spirit and martyrs is red, the celebration became known as the Red Mass.
The Jan 11 Mass also saw Fr Bosco invoking the Holy Spirit’s blessings on participants.
Catholic Lawyers Guild President Ms Peggy Yee, in her address, emphasised that the guild is not just for lawyers in practice but for everyone in the legal fraternity including the Bench, the Bar, lawyers in government, in-house counsel, legally-trained non-practising lawyers who have taken up different vocations, and law students.
The Red Mass celebration in Singapore apparently spread to Barcelona, Spain, last year when a Catholic Singaporean student, Ms Eunice Ong, who was studying there, received an email invitation to attend a Red Mass in Singapore in December 2017.
Ms Ong, who was studying for a master’s in International Law, Foreign Trade and International Relations, showed the invitation to her friends in the law club there, and they thought it would be a good idea to organise one too. On March 7, 2018, their dream came true when the Archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Juan Jose Omella, celebrated the Mass for them.
The Catholic Lawyers Guild (CLG) conducts pro bono legal clinics providing legal assistance for the poor and disadvantaged.
This year, CLG is expanding its legal clinic outreach. In addition to the one at Agape Village, Toa Payoh, CLG legal clinics are also at the Church of St Teresa, Church of Divine Mercy, St Joseph’s Church (Bukit Timah) and Church of the Holy Family.
CLG is a member organisation of Caritas.
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