Red Mass

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The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law conducted its annual Red Mass Tuesday, Sept. 28, at Sts. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church in Detroit. 

The Renewal of the Lawyer’s Oath of Commitment was led by Michigan Supreme Court Justice Michael F. Cavanagh.  The custom of a special religious ceremony for the bench and bar at the opening of each term of the court arose in Europe in the early 13th century.  A mass was celebrated in honor of the Holy Spirit, for which red vestments were worn.

The School of Law’s annual Red Mass dates back to 1877, when Detroit College, as the University was then known, began its first year with a mass at Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church to ask the blessing of the Holy Spirit on the coming year’s work. The School of Law continued the tradition when it opened in 1912. 

Today, the Red Mass is attended by judges, lawyers, and officials of all faiths asking God to bless, strengthen, and enlighten the community’s civic and religious leaders, all servants of the law and all people of faith, so that in cooperation and mutual trust they may more effectively achieve justice and freedom for all.