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Diocese schedules Red Mass, possibly a first for Toledo



Jeremy Wadsworth Enlarge

A Red Mass, intended to remind members of the legal community of their unique responsibility in promoting justice, will be said Thursday in Toledo's Rosary Cathedral, church and legal officials announced yesterday.

It is believed to be the first time since the Toledo Catholic Diocese's founding in 1910 that a Red Mass will be celebrated for the entire diocese.

Bishop Leonard Blair will preside at the Red Mass, named for the color of the cleric's vestments.

The Rev. Charles Singler, rector of Rosary Cathedral and director of worship for the diocese, said the color red symbolizes the Holy Spirit appearing as tongues of fire when descending on Jesus' apostles, according to the biblical book of Acts, Chapter 2.

An invocation of the Holy Spirit will be said during the Mass, which starts at 6 p.m. in the cathedral, 2535 Collingwood Blvd., according to Father Singler.

He and the Rev. Marvin Borger, vicar general and chancellor, will hear confessions at the cathedral starting at 5 p.m.

Toledo Municipal Court Judge Mike Goulding, chairman of the steering committee, said he was challenged by a Detroit priest and family friend, the Rev. David Bayne, to organize a Red Mass in Toledo.

The judge said he contacted the diocese in February and received the full support of Bishop Blair.

More than 20 judges, lawyers, and other members of the legal community served on the steering committee, according to Joe McNamara, a Toledo councilman and lawyer who helped organize the Red Mass.

"The Red Mass is a wonderful opportunity for the legal community to honor God and celebrate the tradition of fairly administering justice in society," Mr. McNamara said.

The first known Red Mass was celebrated at the Cathedral of Paris in 1245, and became a tradition in England during the reign of King Edward II in the 14th century.

One of the most well-known Red Masses is held annually at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington the Sunday before the opening session of the U.S. Supreme Court in October.

Judge Goulding said the Red Mass is for the entire legal community, including judges, lawyers, paralegals, and law clerks, to encourage them to reflect on their God-given roles in the justice system.

Although there is an emphasis on the legal community, the service is open to everyone regardless of career or religious beliefs, the judge added.

The diocese also announced yesterday that a Blue Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday at the cathedral, beginning at

5:45 p.m., for those who serve in uniform.

Colleen Buckman, a spokesman for the diocese, said that the Blue Mass will be for all active, reserve, and retired military personnel; police; firefighters, and emergency medical officials.

After Thursday's Red Mass, a banquet will be held in Rosary Cathedral School with Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger giving the keynote speech.

Judge Goulding said veteran Toledo attorney John J. "Jack" Callahan will be honored at the banquet with the first annual John J. Schlageter Award for his contributions to Toledo's Catholic and legal community.

Mr. Schlageter, a longtime lawyer and former presiding judge of the diocese's Court of Equity, died in January at age 82.

Reservations for the dinner can be made by calling Linda Onisko at 419-321-1286.

Contact David Yonke at:

or 419-724-6154.

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