By Tanya Connor | The Catholic Free Press
Apply your values and principles to your job. Get rid of laws that don’t reflect those values and principles.
Father Paul T. O’Connell, associate judicial vicar for the Diocese of Worcester, issued that challenge to judges, lawyers and others Sunday at St. Paul Cathedral. The senior priest at St. Anne Parish in Shrewsbury, was preaching at the 59th Red Mass.
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 legal profession, whether or not they are Catholic.
Bishop McManus presented awards to four of them. This year’s recipients were: Judge Mark E. Noonan, Distinguished Jurist Award; George F. Sullivan Jr., Esq., the Msgr. F. Stephen Pedone Distinguished Attorney Award; Alan S. Yoffie, Esq., the Bishop Bernard J. Flanangan Ecumenical Award, and John J. Monahan, the Distinguished Catholic Layperson Award.
The Mass is named for the color of the vestments traditionally worn by the celebrants and judges attending the King’s Bench in Westminster, England.
Red symbolizes the Holy Spirit and a “passion” for the laws of the land, Father O’Connell told the congregation. He said the Holy Spirit helps those in the legal profession make sure values are respected. He named the gifts of the Holy Spirit – wisdom, understanding, knowledge, fortitude piety and fear of the Lord – gifts he suggested everyone would want. He talked about Red Mass participants in Washington, D.C., being told by Cardinal Donald Wuerl that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon them so they could renew the face of the earth.
Disrespect for the law is a challenge in today’s society, Father O’Connell said. He called on listeners to see to it that all people who come before them are treated with dignity. Even the “hardened criminal,” when treated with God’s mercy, can be returned to society, he said.
Father O’Connell spoke about respecting life from conception to natural death and respecting marriage as sacred, and acknowledging the right to decent jobs and housing and the right to religious liberty.
Distinguished Jurist Award Judge Mark E. Noonan is First Justice of the Leominster District Court. Judge Noonan is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Boston and Suffolk University. He was appointed to the bench by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2008 and served as Assistant District Attorney for the Middle District for three years, followed by a long and distinguished career in private practice. He has been active in Worcester County Bar affairs including leadership roles for their Advocate Program. An active member of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Worcester, he resides in Worcester with his wife Kerry and their three children.
The Monsignor F. Stephen Pedone Distinguished Attorney Award recipient George F. Sullivan is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Boston College Law School. He has devoted his career as an attorney and businessman to building the family insurance agency,
Sullivan, Garrity and Donnelly. He has been a strong advocate in the community, having served as a board member of the McAuley Nazareth Home for Boys, Bay State Savings Bank, St. Vincent Hospital and the Worcester Diocese Finance Committee. He is also a Knight of Malta and the past chair of the Bishop’s Fund, now called Partners in Charity. Atty. Sullivan and his wife, Marylyn, are parishioners of Holy Redeemer Parish in Chatham. He is a former parishioner of Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St. Ann Parish in Worcester.
Alan S. Yoffie, the Bishop Bernard J. Flanagan Ecumenical Award recipient, is general counsel for the Worcester Knitting Company Inc. Prior to coming to Worcester he was in private practice in Wilmington, Del., and focused on criminal tax matters, civil litigation and real estate law. He also was Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware. Atty. Yoffie has been very active at Temple Emanuel and Temple Emanuel Sinai, including co-chair of the building and location committee involved in the transition to the merged synagogue. He is also active with the Jewish Healthcare Center and the Worcester Jewish Community Center. He is the author of “Sharing the Journey: The Haggadah for the Contemporary Family,” a copy of which was presented to Pope Francis by Rabbi Rick Block, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
The Distinguished Catholic Lay Person is John J. Monahan of the Monahan Group of Worcester. Mr. Monahan has spent most of his career working in the criminal justice and private security related fields, providing consulting, risk management, safety training and electronic surveillance and protection. In addition to a long career in security business along with his wife, Cynthia, he has been very active in the community, most especially as president of the First Friday Club of Worcester since 1976 and Lieutenant with the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.