GARDEN GROVE, CALIF., (SEPT. 25, 2015) – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and the St. Thomas More Society will host the 27th annual Red Mass at Holy Family Cathedral in Orange on Monday, October 5th at 6:00 p.m. The Red Mass is celebrated annually at the opening of the judicial year. Orange County judges and lawyers will attend as a group, joined by public officials and law faculty members. The custom originated in Europe in the 13th century and received its distinguished name from the brilliant scarlet vestments worn by the Mass celebrant and Lord High Justices in England.
“I am pleased to take this special opportunity to recognize the dedication and mission of our local legal community and seek to strengthen their resolve in the upcoming judicial session. I am honored to attend this celebration and the St. Thomas More Society dinner after the Red Mass where an exemplary legal professional will receive the St. Thomas More Award,” said Bishop Vann.
This unique Mass for the Bench and Bar has been celebrated for many centuries all over the world. Its roots can be traced back to Paris, France where the first recorded “Red Mass” took place in 1245. It was held for centuries in the chapel of the Order of Advocates, La Sainte Chapelle, built by Louis IX. In certain localities of France, the Red Mass was celebrated in honor of St. Ives, the patron Saint of Lawyers. In England, the tradition began about 1310, during the reign of Edward I. The entire Bench and Bar attended the Red Mass together at the opening of each term of Court.
The tradition of the Red Mass continues in the United States. Each year in Washington, D.C., the members of the United States Supreme Court join the President and members of Congress in celebration of the Red Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew. The Red Mass is also celebrated in Sacramento and most other state capitals and major cities throughout the United States.
The first Red Mass in Orange County was celebrated in 1988 and has become a tradition.
“The Red Mass in Orange County is an honored tradition that brings the legal community together and reminds us of the lawyer’s duty as a servant to his client and to justice and equity in the law,” said William Malecki, chair of the 2015 Diocese of Orange Red Mass Committee.
Media contact: Ryan lilyengren