The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and the St. Thomas More Society of Orange County joined together to celebrate the 28th annual Red Mass at Holy Family Cathedral in Orange on Oct. 3. The Red Mass is celebrated annually at the opening of the judicial year. Orange County judges and lawyers attended as a group, joined by public officials and law faculty members.
The custom originated in Europe in the 13th century and received its distinguished name from the brilliant scarlet vestments worn by the Mass celebrant and Lord High Justices in England. Its roots can be traced back to Paris, France where the first recorded “Red Mass” took place in 1245. It was held for centuries in the chapel of the Order of Advocates, La Sainte Chapelle, built by Louis IX. In certain localities of France, the Red Mass was celebrated in honor of St. Ives, the patron Saint of Lawyers.
The first Red Mass in Orange County was celebrated in 1988 and has become a tradition. “The Red Mass in Orange County is an honored tradition that brings the legal community together and reminds us of the lawyer’s duty as a servant to his client and to justice and equity in the law,” said Fabio Cabezas, Esquire, President of the St. Thomas More Society of Orange County and Co-Chair of the 2016 Diocese of Orange Red Mass Committee.
Each year in Washington, D.C., the members of the United States Supreme Court join the president and members of Congress in celebration of the Red Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew.
“I am pleased to take this special opportunity to recognize the dedication and mission of our local legal community and seek to strengthen their resolve in the upcoming judicial session. As a faithful shepherd of our Catholic community in Orange County I am honored to attend this celebration and the St. Thomas More Society dinner after the Red Mass where an exemplary legal professional will receive the St. Thomas More Award,” said the Most Rev. Kevin Vann Bishop of Orange.