October 1, 2017

Hundreds turn out for 16th annual Red Mass

Story and photos by David Martin

Hundreds turn out for the 16th annual Red Mass, which honors members of the legal profession, Sunday, Oct. 1 at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD- More than 200 people attended the 16th annual Red Mass, which honors exemplary judges, lawyers and those who work in the legal system, Sunday, Oct. 1.  

Springfield Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski was the principal celebrant at the 10 a.m. Mass held at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield. The longstanding tradition in the Catholic Church invokes the blessing and guidance of the Holy Spirit to attorneys in pleading cases and the judiciary in adjudicating them.  

Six new honorees were awarded with the prestigious St. Thomas More medals during the Mass. Bishop Rozanski told iObserve that the Red Mass calls upon the Holy Spirit to grant light and inspiration to those in the legal profession.

“In meting out justice, there is a necessary aspect that invokes the Holy Spirit, so we ask the Holy Spirit upon them so that in all of their deliberations they may be guided by the Holy Spirit,” said Bishop Rozanski.


This year’s honorees included Gary A. Bianchi of Pittsfield, an 18-year court officer in the Superior Court for Berkshire County. Bianchi was the head football coach at the now closed St. Joseph High School in Pittsfield from 1998 to 2012. Over the years, he has been involved in many youth athletic programs in Pittsfield, including the Catholic Youth Center.

Attorney John F. Moriarty Jr., a native of Holyoke who now resides in West Springfield, was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1979.

Sister of St. Joseph Joyce A. Wise, a native of Springfield, began as a physical education teacher in local parochial schools before becoming a probation officer in the juvenile court. More recently, within the Hampden County Sheriff Department, she has served as a chaplain at the Women’s Correctional Facility and also as on-call chaplain for the Springfield Police Department. Sister Wise said she wanted to congratulate her fellow award recipients for their well-deserved recognition.

“I accept this for my family members with such a wonderful work ethic and all the Sisters of St. Joseph who over the years worked so hard for God. I accept this on behalf of them also,” said Sister Wise.

Attorney Marshall T. Moriarty of Wilbraham, who was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1981, was also among the honorees. His professional career began at the Hampden County House of Correction, where he rose through the ranks in many leadership roles. He is currently the city solicitor of Chicopee.

Sister of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Claire D. Lapointe of Chicopee recently retired from the Springfield Diocesan Tribunal after a 27-year term as a canon lawyer. Previously, she was a teacher and principal in parochial schools and later served in leadership roles within her community.

Thaddeus “Ted” Pawlikowski, a lifelong resident of Easthampton, received the honor, well. Pawlikowski retired as a detective in the Arson Squad from the Springfield Police Department. Currently he is a protective service officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security assigned to the Social Security Administration’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Springfield. Pawlikowski is a parishioner at the Holy Name of Jesus Parish in South Deerfield. He said the Red Mass encourages members of the legal profession to feel connected with the church.

“The legal aspect of it is we do associate God with the judiciary. ‘In God, we trust’ – God is everywhere in our society and in our courts. We have to have a faith to follow in order to be judicious in the right way,” said Pawlikowski.

The Red Mass is sponsored by the local chapter of the St. Thomas More Society of Catholic legal professionals. It had its origins in Europe during the 13th century and was first celebrated here in the United States in 1928. Bishop Rozanski said in his homily that as they honor the new members of the St. Thomas More society, it’s important to give thanks that these professionals have responded to the call to bring justice and mercy into the world.

“It is God who gives us the balance of justice and mercy. In your profession, you participate in the justice that needs to be carried out in our world. We ask that God continue to bestow on you the wisdom that looks not inward, but rather to him, our creator, the source of all that is good and holy,” said Bishop Rozanski.

A reception took place after the Mass at The Log Cabin Restaurant in Holyoke.

For a video version of this story, tune into an upcoming edition of “Real to Reel” the Diocese of Springfield’s weekly television newsmagazine that airs Saturday evenings at 7 on WWLP-22 NEWS