Alaska Superior Court Judge Anna M. Moran speaks to Catholic lawyers and politicians during a recent celebration of the life of Saint Thomas More in Anchorage. — Photo by Mario Bird
Annual Red Mass highlights interplay of faith & secular law
By MARIO BIRD
Preaching on the Gospel account of the poor man Lazarus, Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz asked Alaskan lawyers, judges and politicians to remember the poor at the annual Red Mass, celebrated Sept. 29 at Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage.
“Jesus recognized the dignity of each person,” Archbishop Schwietz said, “and we need to recognize the poor and the needy as a gift given by God.”
The Red Mass is celebrated in Catholic dioceses throughout the country for the opening of the fall court term, a tradition dating to the 13th century. Concelebrating with Archbishop Schwietz was Anchorage Archbishop-Emeritus Francis Hurley.
On the Vigil of Pentecost, May 18, Pope Francis made international headlines when he emphasized the need to “touch the flesh of Christ” by interacting with the poor. “When you give alms, do you look the person in the eye? Do you touch the hand of the person you are giving them to, or do you toss the coin at him or her?”
In his homily, Archbishop Schwietz echoed Pope Francis’ message with a personal story.
“Recently I came to our office on Cordova Street, and I saw a person sleeping against the office,” he said. “But I did not find out his name or his personal struggles. This happens to us without thinking.”
But this is the importance of the Gospel story of Lazarus and the rich man, Archbishop Schwietz said. “Jesus is reminding us that each person is deeply loved by the God who made him.” more…
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