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By Keishla Espinal

Seeking God's Guidance

Lawyers, judges, and others in the legal profession gathered recently for the Red Mass celebrated by Bishop Gregory Parkes. Father Timothy Corcoran, a retired priest of the Diocese of St. Petersburg and a former federal judge, concelebrated the Mass and helped to organize it.

“The Red Mass is important because we pray for the wisdom and counsel of the Holy Spirit so that we as lawyers and judges can perform our duties well with wisdom, justice, and fairness,” said Father Corcoran who used to attend the Red Mass before he was ordained to the priesthood in 2012.

The tradition of the Red Mass dates back to the Medieval period when the legal community prayed for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as a source of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude and strength. Red signifies the color of the vestments worn by the clergy.

“Your presence here today is a clear witness to your faith and the belief that we need to ask and seek God’s assistance not only in our personal lives, but also in the performance of the professional duties and responsibilities that have been entrusted in us,” said Bishop Parkes during his homily at the Red Mass, which was celebrated on January 5, 2023, at Christ the King Parish in Tampa.

After the homily, those in attendance had the opportunity to restate the Oath of Attorney led by the Honorable Christine A Marlewski, Circuit Judge, Florida 13th Judicial Circuit. All judicial branches of government were invited to participate in the Red Mass, regardless of religion.

“Having the Lord’s help in our difficult jobs is very important. It’s hard to have to make tough judicial decisions that affects people’s lives and liberty. Because it is hard, those that do this kind of work need all of the help they can get,” said Father Corcoran.

Participants also received a special blessing from Bishop Parkes.

“As people of faith we should never be afraid to call God, our creator, into the totality of our lives, just as we seek His guidance in our personal lives, we should seek the same in our day-to-day responsibilities or argumentation in the search for truth,” said Bishop Parkes.

To learn about the Tampa Bay Catholic Lawyers Guild, visit their Facebook page.

Bishop Parkes presided at the Red Mass on January 5, 2023 at Christ the King Parish in Tampa. Photo by Keishla Espinal
Lawyers restate the Oath of Attorney at the Red Mass at Christ the King Parish in Tampa on January 5, 2023. Photo by Keishla Espinal
The Honorable Christine A Marlewski, a circuit judge, leads lawyers in the Oath of Attorney during the Red Mass. Photo by Keishla Espinal
Bishop Parkes celebrates the Red Mass at Christ the King Parish in Tampa on January 5, 2023. He is joined by Father Len Plazewski (left) and Father Tim Corcoran (right). Photo by Keishla Espinal