God is great! Our Catholic Diocese of Memphis will be celebrating the area’s Legal Profession with a Red Mass this Friday, Nov. 19, at our beautiful St. Peter Catholic Church, 12pm (noon). Bishop David P. Talley will be the Celebrant with Deacon Alan G. Crone as the Homilist, and a special thank you to Judge Jennie D. Latta for working to arrange the Mass. All our welcome to attend.
A Red Mass is a Mass celebrated annually in the Catholic Church for all members of the legal profession, regardless of religious affiliation: judges, lawyers, law school professors, law students and government officials, marking the judicial year.
Through prayerful petition and thanksgiving the Red Mass requests guidance from the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice, and offers the legal community an opportunity to reflect on what Catholics believe is the God-given power and responsibility of all in the legal profession.
The Red Mass is an historical tradition within the Catholic Church dating back to the 13th Century when it officially opened the term of the court for most European countries. The first recorded Red Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral of Paris in 1245.
In the U.S., the first Red Mass occurred in New York City on Oct. 6, 1928. This Mass was celebrated at Old St. Andrew’s Church with Cardinal Patrick Hayes presiding.
Today, well over 25 cities in the U.S., in Memphis, celebrate the Red Mass each year, with not only Catholic but also Protestant and Jewish members of the judiciary and legal profession attending the Mass.
For the most part the Red Mass is like any other Catholic Mass. One significant difference between the Red Mass and a traditional Mass is that the prayers and blessings are focused on the leadership roles of those present and to invoke divine guidance and strength during the term of Court.
It is celebrated in honor of the Holy Spirit as the source of wisdom, understanding, counsel and fortitude—gifts which shine forth preeminently in the dispensing of justice in the courtroom as well as in the individual lawyer’ s office.