UDM Law to celebrate 99th Annual Red Mass

The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law will host its 99th annual Red Mass on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 5 p.m. at Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church located at 629 E. Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit. The church is immediately adjacent to the School of Law Campus.

UDM's Red Mass is an occasion for judges, lawyers, and officials of all faiths to pray together for guidance at the beginning of the new judicial term and join in the Renewal of the Lawyer's Oath of Commitment. The Oath is recited by all new lawyers in the State of Michigan as a mandatory part of swearing-in ceremonies. Renewal of the Oath is a voluntary means of reaffirming the pledge made at the onset of a lawyer's career. This year's Oath will be led by Michigan Supreme Court Justice Brian K. Zahra who graduated from the School of Law in 1987. The celebrant of the Mass will be Reverend Simon Hendry, S.J., Ph.D., Jesuit priest, a superior of the Jesuit Community and Director of the Catholic Studies Program at UDM.

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. A mass was celebrated in honor of the Holy Spirit, for which red vestments were worn. Hence, the celebration became known as the Red Mass.

The University of Detroit Mercy'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 our civic and religious leaders, all servants of the law and all people of faith, so that in cooperation and mutual trust we may more effectively achieve justice and freedom for all.

For additional information about this event, contact Denise Hickey, assistant dean of Alumni Relations, at (313) 596-0202 or hickeydp@udmercy.edu.

Published: Thu, Sep 22, 2011