Red Mass


The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law conducted its 102nd annual Red Mass on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church in Detroit. 

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Michael F. Cavanaugh (second from left) led the Renewal of the Lawyer’s Oath of Commitment during the mass. ?Also taking part in the mass were (left to right) Rev. Donald F. Hanchon, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit; UDM Law Dean Phyllis L. Crocker; UDM President Dr. Antoine Garibaldi; and UDM Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs Pamela Zarkowski. 

The custom of a special religious ceremony for all members of the bench and bar at the opening of each term of the court arose principally in England, France, and Italy in the early 13th century.  UDM’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 Church to ask the blessings of the Holy Spirit on the coming year’s work.  The School of Law continued the tradition when it opened in 1912, again hosting the Red Mass on behalf of the Archdiocese of Detroit at Saints Peter and Paul through the present. 

Today, the Red Mass is attended by judges, lawyers, and officials of all faiths asking God to bless, strengthen, and enlighten civic and religious leaders, all servants of the law and all people of faith, to effectively achieve justice and freedom for all with cooperation and mutual trust.

(Photo by John Meiu)


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