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DC's Red Mass: +Sartain Shines

Once a year, my normal Sunday morning routine is turned upside down when the Red Mass displaces the usual Novus Ordo Latin Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral. Yesterday's Red Mass in the nation's capital saw six of the nine Supreme Court justices, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, and White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley all in the front pews. Cardinal Wuerl was the principal celebrant and Archbishop of J. Peter Sartain of Seattle preached the homily.

I admit a bias in Sartain's favor: When I lived in Little Rock for four months at the end of 2003 and beginning of 2004, I worshipped at St. Andrew's Cathedral, which was right down the street from my home, and Bishop Sartain often led the liturgies, both on Holy Days but also on weekdays. He is a fine preacher and a warm, engaging man. My mother, who was a tough audience, liked him immensely when she visited at Christmas.

His sermon can be read here. I was especially fond of the Augustine quote at the end which is the stuff of the New Evangelization. Just as importantly, and unlike some Red Mass homilists, he did not use the occasion to give a lecture nor a political speech: He preached a homily. Kudos to Abp Sartain and keep an eye on him. I suspect that Seattle will not be the last stop in his career.

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