Prayers for judges, lawyers, government officials offered at diocese’s Red Mass

Wearing a bright red vestment, Bishop Jenky celebrates the annual Red Mass on Oct. 30 at St. Mary's Cathedral. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Judges, lawyers, government officials and civil servants were remembered in a special way as Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, celebrated the annual Red Mass last Sunday, Oct. 30, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria.

The Mass takes its name from the red vestments worn by the bishop and permanent deacons in honor of the Holy Spirit.

“This election year, perhaps more than most, demands our prayers,” Bishop Jenky said in his letter of invitation to the Mass, which is offered each autumn as the legislature and courts gather for another session. Greeting those who gathered at St. Mary’s Cathedral, he encouraged them to pray that those in the legal profession and government might “serve God by the way they serve on earth.”

The general intercessions included petitions “for the president and Congress, for our governor and all leaders of our world and local community, that they might be attentive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit” and that “all lawmakers, lawyers and judges . . . may enact laws that protect the rights of all persons, especially those most vulnerable.”

There was also a petition for police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, military personnel and civil servants, “that they may know the protection and support of the angels and saints.” One of those saints mentioned by name during the Eucharistic Prayer was St. Thomas More, the patron saint of attorneys and political leaders.


In a homily focused on Luke’s account of Zacchaeus’ interaction with Jesus, Bishop Jenky said all of us have aspects of our lives that make us morally and personally small.

“We, too, can cooperate with injustice and compromise with the truth,” he told his listeners. “So we, too, need to imitate Zacchaeus, to take a chance and to seize an opportunity when God offers us something new, when God calls us by name, when God invites us to a deeper life of faith.”

Short or tall, skinny or fat, rich or poor, brilliant or dull, all of us are called to hear the invitation of Jesus and to know the blessing of saying ‘yes,’” Bishop Jenky said.

By climbing down from our own trees and continuing our conversion, we will be able to “trade in our sins for God’s mercy, give up our alienation for God’s great gift of fellowship, and find the ultimate meaning of our existence in Jesus, as our Lord and redeemer,” he said.

When we do that, Bishop Jenky explained, “salvation may come into our hearts, into our lives, and into our homes.”



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