Bishop Talley Celebrates Red Mass For All Who Seek Justice
The Mass celebrated by Bishop Talley was a Mass tradition first celebrated in 1245 at the Cathedral in Paris. In ensuing years, the Mass was celebrated in several cities of France in honor of Saint Ives, the Patron Saint of Lawyers. From France, the tradition spread to most European countries. Beginning in England around 1310, during the reign of Edward II, the Mass was held at the opening of each term of Court with all members of the Bench and Bar, dressed in their red Court robes. The dates coincided with new sessions of the Roman Rota, the court of the Holy See and, as Bishop Johnston said in his homily, “The red became associated, not only with the color … of the judge’s robes, but also the Holy Spirit.” Hence its name, the Red Mass.
In a Red Mass, the focus of prayer and blessings concentrate on the leadership roles of those present and the gifts of the Holy Spirit — wisdom, understanding, counsel and fortitude, are usually invoked upon those present. The Red Mass is celebrated annually to request guidance from the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice and, it offers the opportunity to reflect on the responsibility of all in the legal profession.