Two decades after the Catholic Lawyers Guild of the Archdiocese of Miami was dissolved, a group of attorneys is working on re-establishing an association of Catholic lawyers in Miami-Dade County called the Miami Catholic Lawyers Guild.

Jose I. Rojas, a litigation attorney, is part of the committee that is working on the project and kicking off the launch of the new group with a Red Mass Thursday, April 23, noon, at Gesu Parish in Miami.

“It is going to be our first major event and we’ve invited members of the judiciary, practicing lawyers and all those in the legal profession. So far the feedback has been very positive and very encouraging,” Rojas said.

The Red Mass is an annual Mass for those in the legal and judicial professions, as well as those who teach and study law. The tradition dates back to 13th-century Europe. The name refers to the red vestments worn by the celebrants to signify the Holy Spirit. Participants pray for wisdom as they endeavor to seek justice.

Rojas said having an association of Catholic lawyers in Miami will be beneficial to the judicial system. “We hope that whenever we spread the good news it has a positive impact amongst lawyers and judges,” he said.

A similar association – the Broward Catholic Lawyers Guild – has been active for a number of years in Broward County.

The Miami guild would have similar goals, including providing opportunities for faith-sharing among Catholic attorneys, sponsoring seminars and working with existing organizations to enrich the community.

“We’re creating fellowship – having brothers and sisters in the profession who share our faith. It will help us be better at what we do, and therefore leaven the community,” Rojas said.

One of the community-assistance programs Rojas hopes the Miami guild will have is providing pro-bono legal services and other legal outreach. “I think it will be beneficial to get involved with charities and other organizations to see how we can help,” he said.

Rojas said the Miami guild will be guided by three principles: piety, study and action.

“We need to implement what we believe into the real world,” he said. “I’m in the legal profession. I spend a lot time there, and I see it as part of my duty as a Catholic to leaven my workplace with those beliefs.”

Daniel Soñé, Florida Catholic (originally posted April 3, 2001)