Kuching Catholic lawyers attend Red Mass to mark opening of new judicial year

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Lawyers with Kuching Archbishop Simon Poh and Fr Felix Au after the Red Mass. (Photo: Stephanie Chua)

By Ivy Chai

KUCHING — On 4 January 2020, over 40 lawyers robed in open court attire and accompanied by their families, attended the Red Mass at Blessed Sacrament Church, BDC, to pray for the new judicial year.

The votive Mass to the Holy Spirit was presided over by Kuching Archbishop Simon Poh, with Fr Felix Au concelebrating.

It is called Red Mass as red is symbolic of the tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit as witnessed by the apostles at Pentecost, and is also the colour of the robes worn by royal judges at Mass centuries ago in Europe in the High Middle Ages.

For Kuching lawyers, it has become customary to come together annually to pray at the Red Mass since 2015.

Archbishop Simon Poh, in addressing the congregation, said the Mass is to ask for help from the Holy Spirit to keep the legal fraternity focused and to request for grace and guidance through the message of the Gospel, for all who seek justice. He called on everyone to pray for one another.

Peace, said the prelate, begins in each and everyone’s heart. Quoting Pope Francis’s 1 January message of Peace for the world, Archbishop Simon said: “All people of goodwill are to go beyond personal desires and to learn to look at each other as persons, as sons and daughters of God, as brothers and sisters. Only when we choose this path of respect can we break the spiral of vengeance and set out on a journey of hope that builds peace.”

The Archbishop added that the Church is apolitical, but its leaders seek to bring about Gospel values that promote mercy, forgiveness, justice, and to build a fair, gentle, and reconciliatory community.

He ended by expounding on the acronym L.A.W., his own adaptation from the Book of Micah 6:8
L – Love tenderly
A – Act justly
W – Walk humbly with God

Archbishop said: “If we use this law, God will use us to make a change in society.”

The Mass concluded with the lawyers singing a song to St Thomas Moore, a patron saint of lawyers.

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