Catholic lawyers with Archbishop Simon Poh (centre), Fr Galvin Ngumbang (right) and Fr Davie Entalai (left), after the celebration of the Red Mass at St Joseph’s Cathedral, Kuching, Feb 17, 2024 (Photo: Stephanie Chua)

By Ivy Chai

Feb 21 2024

KUCHING — Catholic lawyers in the Archdiocese of Kuching have celebrated the Votive or Red Mass for the legal fraternity since 2015. This year’s Mass held on Feb 17 in St Joseph’s Cathedral, coincided with the Season of Lent.

In his homily to the small group of lawyers, their family and friends, Archbishop Simon Poh said the Red Mass marked the beginning of the legal year to invoke “the guidance of the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice and offers a moment of grace and reflection on what Catholics believe is God’s given power and responsibility for all in the legal profession.”

Hence, the Readings for the Red Mass taken from the Saturday after Ash Wednesday were totally appropriate for the lawyers.

God’s demand for love and mercy

The First Reading from the prophet Isaiah was about God’s demand for love and mercy when fasting and doing penance during this season of Lent. It was also a call to honour the Sabbath and to refrain from work as it is important to offer this time to the LORD and to appreciate the LORD’s gifts.

“Today, the Lord wants to use the legal profession for the work of justice and mercy in our society, to proclaim his Kingdom of mercy and love, peace and fraternity in society,” he said.

The Gospel according to Luke reflected Jesus’ “authority and power to bring mercy and hope and in so doing, change the social landscape of his time by reaching out to the outcasts with mercy…as fellow human brothers and sisters, irrespective of social status or lack of it.”

No peace without justice, no justice without forgiveness

Archbishop Simon reminded the Catholic lawyers to be sensitive to the needs of people in need. He concluded his homily quoting Pope John Paul II’s proclamation of God’s mercy, “No peace without justice, no justice without forgiveness”.

Fr Galvin Richard Ngumbang and Fr Davie Entalai concelebrated the Mass presided by Archbishop Simon Poh.

The Offertory gifts presented by the legal community included a wig and robe, representing a lawyer’s garment for court.

At the conclusion of the Red Mass, the lawyers showed their appreciation to the Church with tokens of appreciation to the choir, concelebrating priests and the Archbishop. Senior lawyers Datin Lucy Salang and Datuk Seri JC Fong presented the tokens on their behalf. – Today’s Catholic