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Red Mass

HISTORY OF THE RED MASS

Tracing its origins to France in the thirteenth century, the Red Mass is an annual and interfaith event celebrated around the world to mark the beginning of the legal year. The Red Mass is a special liturgy that calls upon the Holy Spirit to ensure that justice will be the defining feature of the new legal year. It is a time for all people regardless or religious or spiritual affiliation to pray or reflect on the new legal year. We also remember those who have passed during the previous legal year. The emblematic red is associated with the Holy Spirit who descended upon the Apostles at Pentecost and strengthened them for their mission (Acts 2: 1-4). The colour red has also been historically associated with judicial robes, including the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The first Red Mass in Canada was celebrated in 1896 in Quebec City. Shortly thereafter, Red Masses were celebrated in several other cities around the country. In 2019, a group of lawyers, later to become the Red Mass Society of Windsor, partnered with Assumption University to revive the Red Mass tradition. On October 13, 2022, a Red Mass was celebrated with the Most Reverend Ronald Peter Fabbro, CSB, Bishop of London and Chancellor of Assumption University presiding. Following the Red Mass, the Chief Justice Bridget McCormack of the Michigan Supreme Court received the inaugural St. Thomas More Gold Medal.

St. Thomas More Gold Medal Recipient 2023, Chief Justice Michael Tulloch with Bishop Fabbro and Dr. Cappucci.

 

Dr. John Cappucci, Chief Justice Bridget McCormack and Bishop Fabbro

Red Mass Society of Windsor Members 
Mr. Joseph De Luca, Chair
The Honourable Dr. Mary Jo Nolan
The Honourable Mr. Justice Jason Howie
The Honourable Mr. Justice Scott Pratt
Mr. Ken Alexander
Dr. John Cappucci
Mr. Americo Fernandes
Ms. Samantha Greenspan
Mr. Peter Hrastovec
Mr. Kenneth Marley
Ms. Anna Vannelli
St. Thomas More Gold Medal 
Established in 2022, the St. Thomas More Gold Medal is awarded at the annual Red Mass. It is presented to a legal professional who has rendered outstanding service to their profession over the course of several years. The medal is named in honour of one of the patron saints of lawyers, St. Thomas More (1478-1535). Depicted on the obverse of the medal is a picture of St. Thomas More with the Collar or Esses. On the reverse is the recipient’s name, date of award, the name of the university, and a verse from the Book of Psalms in Latin that reads, “Beati qui custodiunt judicium et faciunt justitiam in omni tempore” or “Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.” (106:3). The recipient of the award is chosen by the Red Mass Society of Windsor and presented by the Principal of Assumption University.
Past Recipients of the St. Thomas More Gold Medal 
2022 – The Honourable Bridget McCormack, Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court (Inaugural Gold Medalist)
2023 – The Honourable Michael Tulloch, Chief Justice of Ontario