We invite you to become a member in the Guild. Those persons interested in receiving further information about the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Colorado, or who wish to join should contact Kandace Gerdes, Esq. at 720-913-9174 or visit our "Join" page.
About the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Colorado
The idea of forming a Catholic Lawyers Guild was first conceived in 1928 for the Archdiocese of New York. Since then, the number of such guilds throughout the United States has grown steadily. The Denver Catholic Lawyers Guild was formed in 1960, but in more recent years, the name was changed to the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Colorado.
One of the principal activities of the Catholic Lawyers Guild is the sponsorship of the annual Red Mass. The Red Mass is so named because of the color of the celebrant's vestments. The specific purpose of the Mass is to invoke the assistance of the Holy Spirit in the daily activities of the legal community during the forthcoming judicial year.
Public officials, the judiciary and members of the bar are invited to participate. Members of the judiciary are requested to wear their judicial robes. The Mass is commenced by a procession to the altar, which includes dignitaries, as well as church officials. Over the years, the Red Mass has been celebrated in the Chapel at the John Paul II Center and in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. We have been privileged to have our Chaplain and also the Archbishop and Auxiliary Archbishop celebrate the Mass and confer a special blessing upon us during the Mass.
Following the Red Mass, the Guild offers a brunch to continue the spirit of the Mass and to present the St. Thomas More Award to a Catholic attorney who exemplifies St. Thomas More in service to God, country and profession. Each year a Catholic attorney is also selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, based upon their lifetime contribution to religion, profession and country.
The Guild selected St. Thomas More as its patron saint. Clearly, St. Thomas More is an appropriate model for English-speaking lawyers, since our roots are grounded in the tradition of the common law. St. Thomas More was born February 6, 1478, called to the Bar in 1501, and after an illustrious career, became the Lord Chancellor of England in 1529. He incurred the wrath of King Henry VIII when he resigned as Chancellor rather than acknowledge the King as Supreme Head of the English Church. He was committed to the Tower of London in 1535, was tried for treason on July 1, 1535, and was executed on July 6, 1535. In Rome, on May 19, 1935, Pope Pius XI canonized him as a saint.
The Guild is not designed to take the place of membership by lawyers in local bar associations. Most members of the Guild participate in bar association activities and in other community events.
Although the goals of a Guild may vary from Guild to Guild across the country, the following are a few of some common goals that have been fostered:
- To promote among lawyers and others, high standards of religious and ethical ideals and practices;
- To provide instruction in the application of general ethical principles to concrete legal problems; and
- To promote the intellectual and spiritual welfare of its members.
Throughout the year, the Guild offers opportunities for its membership and the legal community as a whole to come together to promote its goals.
Each Spring, a luncheon is held with speakers discussing current topics facing Catholic attorneys, personal reflections and minor miracles in practicing law.
In the Fall, a fundraising dinner brings together the community to enjoy dinner and an opportunity to support a designated charity. In the past, the Cherry Tomato has opened just for the Guild to hold this event. As part of the evening, a representative of the charity will speak to those in attendance and on occasion, there will be an auction of artwork with part of the proceeds of the auction being donated to the charity as well.
The Annual Dinner is usually held in late January or early February to offer Mass followed by dinner.
The Guild also proudly sponsors a bi-annual Seminar. Over the years the Guild has co-hosted with other organizations including the Colorado Catholic Medical Association and the Vincentian Center for Spirituality. The seminar is open to all the community and CLE credits are sought. Over the years speakers and topics have included: Professor Joseph Allegretti (Creighton University, Professor of Legal Ethics), Richard Doerflinger, Deputy Director of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Gov. A. William Ritter, discussing the meaning of being a Catholic lawyer, stem cell research, issues related to the Annulment of a Catholic marriage, and end of life decision-making and planning considerations.
At a time when the legal profession suffers in its role as an ethical and responsible model for society, the Guild offers, to those who are concerned about the current status of our profession, an opportunity to become a part of the Guild's effort to bring legal disputes to resolution in a manner that dignifies our calling.
We welcome your membership in the Guild. Those interested in receiving further information about the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Colorado, or who wish to join should contact Kandace Gerdes at 720-913-9174 or visit our "Join the Guild" page.