The Red Mass

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"The red Mass" by David and Mercedes Rizzo (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2012 College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Villanova University, via Flickr. All rights reserved.

Have you ever heard the term Red Mass? We had not, until a few months ago when our son’s law school celebrated one. We learned that the Red Mass is celebrated annually in the fall for those who are in the legal profession. It’s called a Red Mass because the priest wears red vestments. Red symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit and is the color of the academic robes and hoods of those who have earned a degree in law. Since the color red is traditionally associated with the month of February, we found this to be a fitting time to write about the Red Mass.

Red Masses go back as far as the Middle Ages, with the first one celebrated in 1310. It is nice to see that these are still being celebrated today and afford an opportunity to mold the moral and ethical character of law students and all those in the legal profession. Our son Colin enjoyed attending his first Red Mass at Villanova. He said that during the homily the priest talked about the importance of ethical practice and reminded the students that lawyers should be seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they seek justice. The priest joked with the students and made them feel at ease.

The Church incorporates the sacrament of the Mass into the lives of people and the various situations they find themselves in. The Catholic Church has many celebratory Masses, including weddings, baptisms, and First Holy Communions. Some Masses, like those for funerals, are sad. Some Masses, like the Red Mass, are inspiring. Whatever the Mass you attend, it is an opportunity to remember Jesus at the Last Supper and the priceless gift of himself that he gave to us.


Copyright 2018 David and Mercedes Rizzo

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About Author

David and Mercedes have four children. They write and speak from a faith perspective as parents of a child with autism. David is a physical therapist. Mercedes is an educator. They are available to speak, and have appeared on radio and other media. They can be contacted at codash41@comcast.net. Follow them on Facebook at Autism With The Rizzos. Their publications are available at LoyolaPress.com.

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