The Most Rev. Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange, and the St. Thomas More Society will host 33rd annual Red Mass

Garden Grove, Calif., (October 1, 2021) – The Most Rev. Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange, and the St. Thomas More Society of Orange County will host the 33rd annual Red Mass at Christ Cathedral on Monday, October 4th at 7:00 p.m. 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 blessed to recognize the dedication and mission of our local legal community and seek to strengthen their resolve in the upcoming judicial session,” said Bishop Vann. 

The Red Mass – an annual event attended by judges, attorneys, law faculty and public officials – is celebrated at the opening of the judicial year in Orange County and throughout the world. Judges attending the Red Mass in Orange County will don red robes in a renewal of an ancient tradition practiced for hundreds of years after the institution of the Red Mass in the 13th century.

The roots of the Red Mass can be traced to Paris, where the ceremony was held in the stunning Sainte-Chapelle after its construction was completed in 1248 by King Saint Louis IX. In England, the tradition began about 1310 during the reign of Edward I. In both Paris and London, the ceremony was held in autumn to mark the official opening of the fall term of the king’s high court. It was known as the Red Mass from the scarlet robes worn by the royal judges, counselors and prosecutors in attendance, and because the celebrant wore the red vestments appropriate for a Mass of the Holy Spirit.  

The Red Mass was introduced to the United States in the nineteenth century and is most famously celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C., a service typically attended by members of Congress and justices of the Supreme Court. Judges attending Red Masses in the United States have traditionally worn the black robes that prevail in the courts of this country, but that is now changing. A recent movement to renew the ancient traditions of the Red Mass has seen judges increasingly attend in the red robes of their forebears.

“I am pleased to see this venerable tradition continue to strengthen in Orange County,” said Bishop Vann. “I look forward to celebrating this beautiful ceremony in which we ask God to bestow his blessings, and especially the virtues of wisdom, justice and mercy, on all who work in law or government.”  

This year’s homilist is Rev.Quan Tran, S.T.L., who served as a lawyer and deputy district attorney in Orange County and since 2011 is an ordained priest and the current administrator of St. Hedwig Church in Los Alamitos. 

The society will be honoring Lisa D. Ramirez, partner in the U.S. Immigration Law Groups, LLP. Lisa is a California State Bar Immigration and Nationality law specialist and notably one of the first women and first Spanish speaking immigration law specialist in Orange County. Those of all faiths who work in law or government are invited, as are their families.   

About the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange

With 1.3 million Catholics, 57 parishes, five Catholic Centers, and 36 schools, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange is one of the largest, most diverse faith communities in the United States. The Diocese empowers Catholics across Orange County to have an active life of faith that is integrated and woven into the fabric of their daily lives through the community and sacramental life of the Church. Under the leadership of Bishop Kevin Vann, the Diocese works to establish and support dynamic, vibrant parishes and schools, and welcome all to live the Gospel with faith, joy, charity and unity. Christ Cathedral, the spiritual home of the Diocese, was dedicated in July 2019. Learn more about the Diocese of Orange at www.rcbo.org.

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