Faithful journey Law professionals invited to Red Mass

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

Michigan Law School admissions counselor Rainey Lamey says she was seeking both a closer relationship with God and a deeper sense of community when she was strolling through the bookshelves at Border's a couple of years ago.

Something made her grab a copy of "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything."

"I had no idea why," says Lamey. "But Fr. Jim Martin is a wonderful, wonderful writer. I started reading it and I realized that Ignatian spirituality was one of the currents in the river of Catholicism that really called out to me."

She rushed home and got on the Internet, figuring there had to be Jesuits somewhere in the Detroit area.

In fact, there were four Jesuits a mile and a half down the road at St. Mary's Student Parish.

And so began her return to her childhood faith.

"I feel welcome," she said, sitting in the library of the chapel on her lunch break recently. "There are four wonderful, distinctive parishes in this town. I would be welcome at those parishes or any of the parishes in the area. St. Mary's is the best match for me."

Lamey grew up in a Catholic family in Montana. She was impressed with her Aunt Lorraine -- aka Sr. Barbara Mary -- whose peace and joy in Christ was obvious.

But Lamey experienced such joy only on the tennis court, and checked-out of the church emotionally and spiritually when she became a teenager.

She moved to Ann Arbor to attend undergrad and law school at the University of Michigan. That's where she realized she didn't want to become a litigator.

"Litigators are good at advocating and letting go," she said. "I wasn't good at letting go."

Lamey instead became a policy analyst at the Great Lakes Natural Resource Center, which also hosts Michigan Law School's Environmental Law Clinic. She moved on from there, working with U-M in various capacities for about 15 years, before becoming an admissions counselor at Michigan Law where she says she reads a lot of good stories from all over the world.

"I wanted to be of service, and see that with people at the law school now," she said. "There's a deep desire to be of service, and as trite as it sounds, help make the world a better place and help our systems work better. Still one of the best ways to go about doing that in the everyday world is to become an attorney and help craft the discussions and words that help us all be in community together."

Now an active member at St. Mary's, Lamey learned about Red Masses, which date back hundreds of years in the Catholic Church. In modern times in the United States, Red Mass is held on the Sunday before the Supreme Court holds its opening session the next day.

Lamey and several others discerned that St. Mary's should hold Red Mass for the intention of those in the legal profession, judiciary, and elected office.

Red Mass will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 9 at the church, 331 Thompson Street in Ann Arbor.

Everyone's invited, Lamey said, including the pre-law major, law school student, practitioner, law school educator, a member of the judiciary, an elected official, or someone who wants to attend in support of a loved one or our elected officials generally.

"I was made to feel very, very welcome, and I was given the opportunity to give back in this way," she said. "Red Mass is a mass to the Holy Spirit praying for the intention of judges, attorneys and elected officials."

Lamey said she has no idea how many people will show up at Red Mass, but is hoping to see many fill the pews.

Jay Hughes, an attorney with Dickinson Wright in Ann Arbor, is a fellow member of St. Mary's and the Red Mass committee. He says he's looking forward to seeing old friends at the Red Mass and connecting with a new group of friends to celebrate their shared profession and beliefs.

"It's a great way to put the everyday practice of law into the proper perspective- that is, I am called to live my Catholic life in all that I do, including the practice of law," he said. "It also gives me an opportunity to connect with others who feel the same call."

For Lamey, Red Mass is another way to strengthen her relationship to God in community. It's an ongoing journey that has given her the peace and joy she saw in her aunt years ago.

"I just know and experience that I'm a loved being," she said. "I was created in great joy and delight and am still cared for in that way. It's something I share with every human being on this planet."

Published: Tue, Oct 9, 2012