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Creighton University’s Red Mass Celebrates New Court Term

The Red Mass, an 800-year-old tradition, will be celebrated at Creighton University at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 2, in St. John’s Church on the University campus.

Creighton University President Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., will preside with members of the Jesuit community concelebrating.


The name “Red Mass” refers to the annual Catholic Mass which commences the new Court Term. Its history dates to 13th century Europe when it was celebrated prior to opening the Ecclesiastical Courts, to invoke divine guidance upon those responsible for administering laws and justice. The name of the Mass is derived from the red vestments worn by the priests, to signify the fire of the Holy Spirit, and by the scarlet robes worn then by judges and doctors of law.

The first Red Mass in the United States was in New York City in 1928. Today it is celebrated in cities across the nation to initiate the opening of the Fall Term of the courts. It provides an opportunity for attending members of the legal community — judges, attorneys, law school professors, law enforcement and governmental agencies — to reflect on the God given power attached to their office. Participants ask God to imbue all members of the legal community with the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit — wisdom, understanding, counsel and fortitude — for the right and just administration of their respective office.

People of all faiths are welcome to attend the Red Mass. A reception will be held in the Schneider Commons at the School of Law. If attending the reception, please RSVP to (402) 280-3079 or emailhattierupert@creighton.edu.