TANJUNG ARU – The legal fraternity celebrated its sixth Red Mass at the Stella Maris Church here on 11 March 2017.
Archbishop John Wong presided at the Mass concelebrated with Msgr Primus Jouil.
Some 60 legal practitioners – mostly lawyers and a judge – attended the event, including some family members and others.
In his homily, Abp Wong dwelt on the liturgical readings (Mosaic Law and the greatest commandments) and called on those present to work for peace and justice and to do their work with compassion.
In her speech after the Mass, Mdm Ruth Marcus, coordinator of the Sabah Catholic Lawyers Association (SCLA), pointed out that the association has done its bit to tackle the three challenges faced by the Church today: Islamisation, secularisation and apathy.
She said that the threat to freedom of worship is real; and unless the country sets up a constitutional court the problem will never be solved.
SCLA has continued to offer its assistance by providing free legal advice on the “Law of Apostasy in Malaysia and its effect on family law” on weekends in a designated location. It has also conducted talks on it and on the freedom of worship in parishes by invitation, as far as Kg Mansiat near Mount Trusmadi.
Regarding the ongoing issue of wrong or no issuance of birth certificates and identity cards, she said it is a complex issue.
SCLA does its best to help prepare a statutory declaration so that those concerned may be able to join RCIA classes and receive the sacraments of initiation.
Marcus also explained that the colour red signifies martyrdom, readiness to lay down one’s life.
She also took the opportunity to promote three titles for the members’ reading pleasure: Vatican Council II’s decree on the apostolate of the laity, Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel) and Laudato Si (Care for Mother Earth).
The event ended with a fellowship meal at the parish hall.