Imagine having the undivided, off-the-bench attention of a batch of Supreme Court justices for an hour. What would you say?

That’s the question that annually faces the Roman Catholic bishop chosen to give the homily or sermon at Washington’s Red Mass, the venerable event at which the church blesses the forthcoming term of the Supreme Court, as well as the work of dozens of other civic leaders in attendance.Named for the red vestments worn by the celebrants of the mass, it has been held at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle for 47 years on the Sunday before the Court’s First Monday in October opening of its fall term.

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