The annual Red Mass at Sts. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church in Detroit has been a tradition in the Metro Detroit legal community for 111 years, attended by numerous judges, lawyers, and law students. In this year’s Red Mass, Michigan Area members took a prominent role – including celebrating Mass.
The Most Rev. Allen H. Vigneron, ChC, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit, was the lead celebrant. The traditional procession of judges, law professors, and other dignitaries included Hon. Maura D. Corrigan, former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court and a candidate for the Order.
Also in the procession were attorneys Marcia McBrien, DM, and Andy Smith, KM, the incoming chair of the Michigan Area. McBrien, a past president of the Catholic Lawyers Society of Metropolitan Detroit, also proclaimed a reading at Mass.
The Order of Malta robes worn by McBrien and Smith elicited many comments and questions from other participants, including Catholics who were not familiar with the Order – a great teaching opportunity.
The tradition of the Red Mass dates back at least as early as 1243, when Pope Innocent IV held a Red Mass to mark the coming term of the Ecclesial Judicial Court, asking for the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, and strength. The color red signifies the Holy Spirit and martyrdom.