Catholic Free Press

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  • Oct
  • 23

Red Mass honors those upholding truth and justice

Posted By October 23, 2014 | 4:16 pm | Lead Story #2
Photo by Tanya Connor 
Bishop McManus greets Atty. Elizabeth W. Morse and Atty. Timothy P. Wickstrom, recipients of the Distinguished Attorney award, at the Red Mass Sunday at St. Paul Cathedral. Assisting him is Msgr. Robert K. Johnson, master of ceremonies.
Photo by Tanya Connor Bishop McManus greets Atty. Elizabeth W. Morse and Atty. Timothy P. Wickstrom, recipients of the Distinguished Attorney award, at the Red Mass Sunday at St. Paul Cathedral. Assisting him is Msgr. Robert K. Johnson, master of ceremonies.

By Tanya Connor

Imagine this: two lawyers are walking down Main Street, exhibiting an easy familiarity between them. But once in the courtroom, they duel with each other over their clients’ conflicting interests.
It could look like they’re merely seeking victory, but “it is really the pursuit of truth and the implementation of justice,” aided by judge and jury. Afterwards they plan their golf game and a get-together of their families.
MoudiosMcCarthy   Father Richard F. Reidy, vicar

general/moderator of the Curia, painted this scene in his homily at the Diocese’s 57th annual Red Mass Sunday at St. Paul Cathedral. Father Reidy worked as a lawyer in Worcester for several years before he became a priest.
The St. Thomas More Society of Worcester County sponsors the Mass for all persons in the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government and the Bar, whether or not they are Catholic. The bishop presents awards to some of them.
In a world of rivalries and “a society where politics can be poisoned by partisanship … we need the example of those two lawyers and of those that we honor today,” Father Reidy said, referring to his story and this year’s award recipients.
He said not every “clash of counsel” is such a shining example; human nature can wilt when “the stakes are high” and “all is on the line … And so we need our … heroes.”
He spoke about St. Thomas More, who sacrificed position, power, home, health, family, freedom and ultimately his life rather than compromise his conscience.
St. Thomas More is “vitally important to our polarized society as a beacon of civility … to friend and foe alike,” Father Reidy said. He read a prayer in which the saint asked God to grant that his faults and those of his opponents be amended and redressed and they all be saved in heaven together.
“Thomas More lived in perilous times,” he said. “We live in polarized times, times when religious liberty can no longer be taken for granted and times when many other critical issues are at stake. How is it that we can avoid discouragement, stand firm in the face of opposition, perhaps paying a great price but doing so without losing good will and love for those who oppose us? Faith in God was the answer for Thomas More and it is the answer for us.”
He told how Thomas More quoted the Scripture, “My grace is sufficient for you,” which Pope Francis used in “The Joy of the Gospel,” when he warned against Dolantemptations to stifle boldness and zeal and become pessimists. He said the pope wrote that no one can go off to battle unless he is convinced of victory.
“Thomas More was convinced of Christ’s victory,” Father Reidy said. “No power on earth would keep him from sharing in Christ’s victory. …
“As you walk down Main Street and enter the courthouse, remember your call, God’s grace and the example Thomas More, a man for all seasons and a saint for our times.”
This year’s award recipients were: Maura K. McCarthy, first justice of the East Brookfield District Court – Distinguished Jurist award; Timothy P. Wickstrom and Elizabeth W. Morse, siblings and partners, Wickstrom Morse, LLP – Distinguished Attorney award; Nickolas W. Moudios, clerk magistrate, Worcester Housing Court, and St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Worcester – Bishop Bernard J. Flanagan Ecumenical award, and John B. Dolan III, administrative assistant to the Register of Probate – Distinguished Catholic Layperson award.