Votive Mass of The Holy Spirit (Red Mass) 2019 Sub-Committee Report

The following report was submitted by the Red Mass Sub-Committee.

1. The 25th Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, commonly known as the Red Mass, was celebrated on Saturday, 12 January 2019 at the Cathedral of St John (“St John’s”).

2. The Catholic Lawyers’ Society, Kuala Lumpur (“CLS”), has celebrated the Red Mass annually since 1995.  Including this year’s Red Mass, there have been 25 Red Masses since its inception, celebrated by 7 Archbishops (two of whom were Papal Nuncios), 10 Bishops and 2 priests (there have been repeats) from within and outside of Malaysia. Although the Red Mass was initially only celebrated at St John’s Cathedral, the celebration has recently been shared amongst the other churches in Kuala Lumpur.

3. Through the Mass, the CLS prays that the Holy Spirit keeps lawyers, judges, government officials and all Catholics in the field of law alike obedient to the truth of justice. The Mass has become a blessed and opportune time to reflect at the beginning of the legal year on what Catholics in the legal field believe is their God-given duty and responsibility.

4. The Right Reverend Richard Ng, Bishop of Miri, was the main celebrant. Con-celebrating with Bishop Richard were His Grace Archbishop Julian Leow and Archbishop Emeritus Murphy Pakiam, Reverend Father Jestus Pereira (CLS’s former spiritual director) and Reverend Father Michael Chua (the CLS’s current spiritual director).

5. Also present were, amongst others, religious brothers and sisters from various congregations; YB Teresa Kok, Minister of Primary Industries; their Excellencies the Ambassadors of Timor-Leste, Peru, European Union, Switzerland; parishioners of St John’s; over 70 Catholic lawyers; and a large number of faithful from the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur and beyond.

6. In Bishop Richard’s homily, he referred to two points that resonated from the readings of the Red Mass: the first emphasised prayer and the second the element of humility. There is no short cut to the Lord save and except through prayer.

7. His Lordship explained that “prayer may or may not change God’s plans but it helps change us” and recalled that St John the Baptist “was humble enough to tell his followers that he must decrease and Jesus must increase”.

8. Bishop Richard concluded his homily by reading the message of Pope Francis for the celebration of the 52nd World Day of Peace message (see Annexure).

9. The President of the CLS, Rita Wong, in her address at the end of the Red Mass, said that lawyers “should impart and dispense our knowledge and understanding of law in the cause of justice to act morally and truthfully according to a well-formed conscience.” She reminded all present “of the great saint and jurist St. Thomas Moore, who refused in conscience to take the Oath of Supremacy, which required recognizing the king of England as head of the church. Thomas More had a well-formed Christian conscience, he would not take an oath in violation of God’s law, even though it meant imprisonment and death. He died, as he said at the scaffold, as ‘the king’s loyal servant, but God’s servant first.’”

10. On the advent of Malaysia’s new government after the epochal general election of May 2018, Ms Wong pledged the CLS’s commitment to “continue playing the role of supervision, to safeguard the independence of the judiciary, to pay great attention to politics and to provide legal services”. She described a striking and apt simile: “Corruption is a feature of a country where the rule of law isn’t functioning properly. The Great Wall of China is a gigantic structure that cost huge amounts of money and took much labour to construct. It looked impregnable when finished. But the enemy breached it, not by tearing it down or digging a tunnel under it, but by bribing the gatekeepers. Nothing is safe where there is corruption, where integrity is missing.”

11. Ms Wong issued a clarion call to all lawyers present to attend the CLS’s AGM for 2019, which will be held on 23rd March, 2019 at 10 am, at Assumption Hall, Church of Assumption, Petaling Jaya. She cited the words of the great British statesman, Sir Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”. Giving does not stop with the giving of things and money. It finds its fullness in the giving of self – in time, effort and loving acts.” She concluded by praying with hope “that the Lord will always be in our lives, to preserve our hearts, our thoughts and our minds, to enable us to do His will that brings honour to His Holy Name.”

12. After the President of the CLS’s address, His Grace Archbishop Julian Leow thanked the “CLS for defending and offering services to the church and to the society for the past 25 years”. His Grace “appealed to Catholic lawyers to participate and be active in the CLS and to give back to build the New Malaysia” and reminded the CLS “to maintain the rule of law.”

13. After the procession at the conclusion of the Mass, the clergy and lawyers assembled on the church steps in front of St John’s for a group photograph session and thereafter proceeded to the church hall for fellowship and lunch.

14. The Red Mass 2019 Organising Committee wishes to record its sincere thanks and appreciation to Monsignor Leonard Lexson, Parish Priest of GSC and his staff, the parishioners of St John’s and the church sacristan for their indispensable assistance in making the Red Mass a grace-filled and blessed occasion.

15. We wish to express our sincere love, gratitude and appreciation and prayers to all the clergy, religious and families and friends of the Catholic lawyers for their presence, prayers and their continued support to the Catholic Lawyers’ Society Kuala Lumpur.

In Jesus Christ’s name,
Trevor JM Padasian
Head, Red Mass Sub-Committee

Recent News

8 weeks 4 days ago
2 years 27 weeks ago