PORTLAND — Bishop Robert Deeley will serve as the principal celebrant and homilist at the Red Mass on Friday, Sept. 26, at 11 a.m., at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. Judges, lawyers, canonists, government officials, and people of all faiths are invited to attend the annual Mass, during which the bishop asks for God’s blessing upon those who serve in the legal profession.

Bishop Deeley has an extensive background in the legal field. In 1978, with his appointment as Secretary to the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Boston, he began a ministry in the Tribunal which would last for over 20 years, including ten years as Judicial Vicar. He assumed the presidency of the Canon Law Society of America in 2000 and served at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome from 2004-2011. The bishop earned both a Licentiate of Canon Law degree in 1983 and a Doctor of Canon Law degree (summa cum laude) in 1986 from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

The Red Mass is a tradition that dates back to 13th century France and is usually held to celebrate the official opening of the judicial year. The red vestments worn by celebrants symbolize the presence of the Holy Spirit and are reminiscent of the traditional bright scarlet robes worn by the attending royal judges centuries ago.

A luncheon will follow the Mass at the Portland Regency Hotel. Justice Joseph M. Jabar of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court will be the luncheon’s keynote speaker. Justice Jabar is a graduate of Colby College and the University of Maine School of Law. During his distinguished career, he has worked as a federal prosecutor for the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., a district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset Counties in Maine, and has served on the board of governors for the Maine Trial Lawyers Association. He was appointed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in 2009.

People of all faiths are invited to attend both the Mass and the luncheon. Reservations are required for the luncheon. To reserve a spot at the luncheon, contact Deborah Shigo at (207) 791-3251.

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