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Archbishop Wuerl Offers Red Mass

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Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C., was the Principal Celebrant and Homilist for the Diocese of Raleigh’s Third Annual Red Mass held at Sacred Heart Cathedral, October 8, at 12:00 PM. At the beginning of the Mass, the Archbishop was welcomed to the Diocese by the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, who was Principal Concelebrant.

The Red Mass invokes God’s blessing and guidance upon men and women who are Judges, Attorneys, Members of the Legal Community and Government officials. The origin of the Mass dates back to the 13th century. Its term is derived from the red vestments traditionally worn to symbolize the Holy Spirit and the tongues of fire that descended on the Apostles.

A letter of invitation to attend the Red Mass was sent to members of the Legal Community and Government officials by Bishop Burbidge. In his letter, Bishop Burbidge expressed his gratitude to those involved in the planning process. They include Judge Alysson Duncan, Judge Terence Boyle, Judge James Dever, Judge Ann Marie Calabria, Judge Paul Gessner, Professor Kevin Lee and Mr. Tom Lindgren.

On Sunday, October 3, Archbishop Wuerl celebrated the annual Red Mass in Washington, D.C., which was attended by the Justices of the United States Supreme Court, Vice-President Joe Biden and other government officials.

In his homily at Raleigh’s Red Mass, Archbishop Wuerl, recalling Jesus’ words, said, “Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me,” spoke about the nature of the separation of Church and State.

“The separation of Church and State as it has been long understood in our country does not mean separation of faith and moral values from the public square and the formulation of public policy,” the Archbishop said. “...The separation of Church and State opens the space necessary for both Church and State to influence and form culture. Politics, law and faith are mingled because believers are also citizens. Both Church and state are home for the same people.

“In the end,” the Archbishop continued, “the norm of public policy, and its application and interpretation, must be not what we can do but what we ought to do; not what we have the ability to achieve but what in our hearts, in our conscience and in our souls we know we must do.”

A reception at Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins school of Law followed the Mass.


Above: Raleigh Mayor Ralph Meeker, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, Msgr. David D. Brockman following Red Mass celebrated at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Below: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge and Archbishop Donald D. Wuerl with students from St. Thomas More Academy.