Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, who leads the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, delivers the homily at the Sept. 30 Red Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington. (CS photo by Rafael Crisostomo)
Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, who leads the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, delivers the homily at the Sept. 30 Red Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington. (CS photo by Rafael Crisostomo)
Lawmakers and those who serve justice must make decisions based on their strong faith and moral convictions, and not on popular cultural trends, the archbishop of the Military Services, USA said Sept. 30 at the 60th annual Red Mass.

"The faith we hold in our hearts must motivate the decisions, the words, and the commitment of our everyday existence," Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio said. "That existence is extraordinary, because it is infused with divine grace."

Archbishop Broglio was the homilist and Cardinal Donald Wuerl was the principal celebrant at the annual Red Mass. It is celebrated each year on the Sunday before the first Monday in October, when the Supreme Court begins its new term, to offer prayers and invoke the Holy Spirit on those who serve in the judiciary.

Cardinal Wuerl invoked "God's blessing on those who are involved in the administration of justice" and also asked "prayers for our nation."

Speaking to more than 1,300 people - many of them federal officials or public servants - who attended the Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, Archbishop Broglio said that "not everything contemporary is good and ... stable foundations are essential."

"Our society must also rest on stable, clear foundations," he said. "Otherwise, we run the risk of sinking into the mire of one popular soundbite after another."

During the Mass, prayers were offered for the president, vice president and "all those who hold the sacred trust of governance" and for "the protection of all human rights, including the right to life."

Among the members of the Supreme Court attending the Mass were John G. Roberts Jr., the Chief Justice of the United States; and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia; Clarence Thomas, Anthony M. Kennedy, Stephen G. Breyer, and Elena Kagan. Also at the Mass were U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood; U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney; Catholic University of America president John Garvey; Georgetown University president John DeGioia; members of the diplomatic corps; federal, state and local judges; government officials; law professors and law students.

Quoting Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Broglio told those at the Mass that "we must be loyal Americans by being bold and courageous men and women of faith and conviction regarding the ethical norms that guide society and its choices."

"There is so much that we bring to the discourse of our society. Our faith expresses itself in worship, but also in witness," he said. "We cannot separate who we are from how we live."

He asked those who administer justice to "welcome the strength of the Holy Spirit and the interior dynamism with which He fills our hearts" so that they live lives that are "truly noble, worthy of God, and of the vocation He has given us."

"We are here primarily to pray with you and for you as you execute the daunting task assigned to you at various levels," Archbishop Broglio said. "We beg a blessing for all of you and for all of those who assist you in this important ministry."

Archbishop Broglio heads the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, which provides pastoral ministries and spiritual services to those in the United States armed forces. The archdiocese serves 1.8 million men, women and children in more than 220 installations in 29 countries, patients in 153 V.A. Medical Centers, and federal employees serving outside the boundaries of the United States in 134 countries.

The annual Mass is sponsored each year by the John Carroll Society, a Washington area organization that provides spiritual, intellectual, charitable and social opportunities for Catholic professionals and business men and women in service to the archbishop of Washington.

The Mass gets its name from the color of the vestments worn by the celebrants, with red representing the Holy Spirit and the tongues of fire that descended upon the Apostles. The Mass is an ancient tradition that began in Europe. In this country, the Mass was first celebrated in New York City in 1928 and first celebrated in Washington in 1953.

After the Mass, the John Carroll Society sponsored a brunch, honoring local law professionals with the Archdiocesan Legal Network, a program of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. Each year, more than 5,000 people in need receive about $8 million in free legal services through the generosity of more than 800 volunteer attorneys and 57 law firms.

A local attorney, a D. C. judge and a law firm received this year's Pro Bono Legal Service Awards for outstanding volunteer legal service to low-income individuals from the Washington region.

Honored were:

Joyce Trimble Gwadz, an attorney with Dow Lohnes PLLC. Over the past six years, she has been a regular supporter of Legal Network, as well as an active volunteer with the Advisory Council. As part of her pro bono contribution to the Legal Network, she conducts client intake and has also recruited other attorneys within her firm to give their time and talent by accepting pro bono cases.

Judge John M. Facciola, a magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He created the Brooks Internship in 2003 in honor of Rev. John Brooks, S.J., former president of the College of the Holy Cross who influenced many graduates of the school to become lawyers and judges. Brooks Interns spend the summer working for Judge Facciola and with the Legal Network, allowing students to appreciate the importance of pro bono legal service.

The law firm of Furey Doolan & Abell, LLP, which has devoted hundreds of pro bono hours to clients on cases involving wills and advanced medical directives, probate, and family law.