The mission of the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago is rooted in three pillars:
Prayer. Providing opportunities for reflection and union with God has been a crucial part of the Guild’s life, accomplished through retreats, days of recollection, and the Red Mass.
Service. Some notable services provided by the Guild have been pro bono service to immigrants at the request of Cardinal Samuel Stritch in the 1960s and Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in 1970s , the hearings on sexual abuse conducted at the request of Cardinal Francis George in 2002, and our recent adoption of the Catholic Charities Legal Clinic as a service opportunity for our members.
Celebration. Annually we organize the Red Mass at Holy Name Cathedral, the Mass that has opened the Fall Term for courts since 1245 A.D. asking the Holy Spirit’s help for lawyers and judges. In tandem with the Red Mass, we celebrate with a luncheon lawyers who have incarnated Christ in the world through their work.
For many the phrase lawyer-saint is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, but we know better, not only do we have our patrons, St. Thomas More and St. Ivo, but we have seen the lawyer-saints in the courthouses and offices of Chicago, many anonymously practicing charity and law side-by-side, others more visible, holding high office, serving God while also serving their fellow man. It is to sainthood we must all aspire. And the law can be a great helper—for the law hangs on two hinges—love of God and love of neighbor. In as simple a deed as stopping at a stop sign—we submit our wills to a power above us, as we should submit to God’s will, and we show our love for the safety and well-being of our neighbor in abiding by the law intended to make the roads safe for all. Thus law and the whole legal profession can lead us to fulfill our glorious twofold duty: to pray and to love.