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Bishop Burbidge Discusses Threats to Basic Rights at Red Mass

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The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge celebrated the annual Red Mass, Friday, October 12, 2012, at Sacred Heart Cathedral. The Red Mass is a tradition with a long history in the Catholic Church, dating back to the 13th Century when it officially opened the term of court for most European countries.

The Red Mass was introduced into the United States in 1928 in the Church of St. Andrew in New York City. The tradition has continued in the U.S.  In Washington, D.C., the members of the United States Supreme Court join the President and members of Congress in the celebration of the Mass at St. Matthew Cathedral. The Red Mass is also celebrated in most state capitals and major cities throughout the United States. 

In his homily, Bishop Burbidge pointed to the long tradition, calling it “a special occasion for the Church and God’s people to honor the sacred character of the law and the beautiful vocation entrusted to you, its guardians.”

The Bishop noted the public scrutiny the legal community and public officials are under, adding, “You are in need of our prayers and support. We pray for divine grace, enlightenment, consolation and comfort.”

Bishop Burbidge also addressed “serious concerns at this critical time in our history, where human rights and religious liberty and freedom are seriously threatened. It is true, dear friends,” the Bishop said, “life and liberty, are not gifts we have to earn or beseech from government—life and liberty come from the hand of God!”

The Bishop also pointed to other important issues facing our society that deal with respect for life and the dignity of each person, such as the unborn, the poor, the weak, and those who are being challenged by government to violate their consciences. 

“In the midst of this chaos, and as He has done throughout the ages, God sends His instruments and witnesses,” Bishop Burbidge said. “God also equips them for the task and consecrates them in Truth. Dear friends, you are those witnesses and, as mentioned, the Church and our nation count on you and depend on you more than ever.”

Following the Mass, a reception was held at Campbell University, sponsored by the University’s School of Law and Poyner Spruill Law Firm. 

Those assisting in the planning for the Red Mass were Judge Allyson Duncan, Judge Terrence Boyle, Judge James Dever, Judge Paul Gessner, Judge Ann Marie Calabria, Judge William Webb, Professor Kevin Lee and Mr. Tom Lindgren.

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Read Bishop Burbidge’s homily

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Above: Members of legal profession attending annual Red Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

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Below: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrating Red Mass, concelebrated by Msgr. David D. Brockman, Vicar General of the Diocese; Fr. Robert Schreiber, Cathedral Vice Rector;  Cathedral Rector Fr. Dan Oschwald and Fr. Lourduraj Alapaty, Wake Med Hospital Chaplain.