Traditional Red Mass will recognize legal professionals on October 19

By John E. Kearns Jr., Diocesan Director of Communications

FALL RIVER, Mass. — Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., will celebrate the annual Red Mass in the Fall River Diocese at 10 a.m., October 19, in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River. Homilist for the Mass will be Stonehill College President Father John F. Denning, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross.

A long-standing tradition in the Church, the Red Mass is celebrated each year in the diocese to invoke God’s guidance and strength on those who work to promote justice in the legal system.

Judges, attorneys and others working in the justice system throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands are invited to attend.

The Red Mass will conclude with the presentation of the St. Thomas More Award to members of the area legal community to recognize dedicated service.

Selected for the honors this year are, as distinguished jurist, Judge Therese M. Wright, First Justice, Wareham District Court; as distinguished attorney, Claudine A. Cloutier of  Keches Law Group, Taunton; as distinguished court employee, Karen Eng, Assistant Clerk Magistrate, Fall River District Court; as distinguished recipient of the ecumenical award, attorney Clement Brown of Horvitz & Brilhante, L.L.P., Fall River; and as distinguished recipient of the Joseph P. Harrington Founder’s Award, attorney Arthur Caron of New Bedford.

The Red Mass is so named because of the color of the vestments worn during the Liturgy, which is the Mass of the Holy Spirit, Who will be invoked upon those in attendance. Its roots date back to 13th-century Europe, and it is widely celebrated in dioceses throughout the U.S.

The St. Thomas More Awards are unique to the Red Mass celebration in the Fall River Diocese.  They are named for St. Thomas More, a 16th-century English layman and lawyer martyred for opposition to the divorce of King Henry VIII and for refusing to renounce papal authority. 

Recipients were nominated for the award by the Red Mass planning committee of judges, attorneys, court personnel and priests from across the diocese, headed by New Bedford attorney Michael J. Harrington.

This year’s Red Mass may also offer a glimpse of the legal profession of the future. Students from the Mock Trial teams at each of the five Catholic high schools in the diocese will attend as guests of the committee as a way to introduce the tradition of the Red Mass to young persons with an interest in law. 

All are welcome at the Red Mass. A reception and luncheon will follow for which a ticket is required. For information, please contact Attorney Harrington at 508-994-5900.

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Judge Wright began her current post as First Justice of the Wareham District Court in 2013. She has served District Courts of southern Bristol and Plymouth Counties as well as those of the Cape and Islands since her appointment to the bench in 2006.

Before that she was for several years an assistant district attorney in Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office where she worked in the Appeals Unit and was chief of the Family Protection Unit, overseeing the prosecution of cases involving domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse. While there she also served as Second Assistant District Attorney and prosecuted homicide cases and other felonies in Superior Court.

Earlier in her career, she spent time in a private law practice and as assistant regional counsel for the then Department of Social Services.

Judge Wright holds a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.

With her husband and daughter, she resides in West Barnstable and is a parishioner of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Centerville.

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Attorney Cloutier is a partner in the Keches Law Group in Taunton and manages the firm’s litigation departments.

Her areas of practice include construction site injury and product liability, and she has attained favorable jury verdicts in a number of cases involving claims in those areas.  She has authored and coauthored articles on the law and construction project injuries for Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education.

She earned her law degree from Suffolk University Law School, graduating cum laude.

A resident of Fall River, she is a communicant of St. Bernadette Parish in that city and serves on its Parish Council. She has been involved in Confirmation preparation programs, teaching classes and helping organize retreats. She is also a trustee for the B.M.C. Durfee High School Alumni Scholarship Fund

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Assistant Clerk Magistrate Eng was named to that position for Fall River District Court in 2000 and currently works under Clerk Magistrate John O’Neil.  Her longtime service at that court goes back 30 years when she was hired as a computer operator/programmer. In 1994, she became a Session Clerk and in 1998, acting Assistant Clerk Magistrate.

Born and raised in Fall River, she attended an elementary school in that city and B.M.C. Durfee High School.

Eng has two sons and two grandsons.

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Attorney Brown, also of Fall River, joined the firm of Horvitz and Brilhante, L.L.P., as an associate in 1987 and became a partner in 1994. Over the years, his work has concentrated on municipal law, civil litigation and labor and employment law; he has represented numerous private businesses and governmental entities. He has been Town Counsel for Somerset since 1993, and for a time served in that same capacity for Swansea.

Long active in a number of community associations and law-related programs, he is director of the Narrows Center for the Arts, Inc., Fall River, and a volunteer mediator with the Fall River District Court Pre-trial Program. He recently concluded service as director of the South Coast Counties Legal Services; as a board member of Hospice Outreach, Inc., Fall River; and as a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association Education Committee for which he was a coach for local high school Mock Trial Teams.

He is a cum laude graduate of Suffolk University Law School, where he was Technical Editor and staff member of its Law Review.

He and his wife Helen have two children and two grandchildren.

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Attorney Caron is special counsel on labor relations for the City of New Bedford.

A native of that city, he earned a law degree from Boston College Law School and a master’s degree in Labor Law from New York University and then entered the U.S. Army. There he served as a captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps with the First Cavalry Division in Korea and later in the office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

He joined the law firm of Downey and Jacobs upon his return to New Bedford in 1968. He served as Assistant City Solicitor during the administrations of several New Bedford mayors before being appointed by Governor Michael Dukakis in 1982 as General Counsel to the Massachusetts Office of Employee Relations.

Upon completion of his term for the Commonwealth, he returned to private practice in New Bedford and resumed service to municipal government first as Assistant City Solicitor, then City Solicitor, and finally as labor counsel to three mayors. 

He and his wife, Margarita, are the parents of two children and grandparents of four. They attend St. Mary Parish in New Bedford.

© 2017 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing  †  Fall River, Massachusetts