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 Photo Credit: “The Patron Saint of Attorneys: Sir Thomas More.” Thomas More Society.
Dr. John Cappucci, Chief Justice Bridget McCormack and Bishop Fabbro