The 57th annual Red Mass, celebrating the San Antonio legal community and inviting blessings on the judicial year, was held Thursday, Oct. 29, at 6 p.m. at San Fernando Cathedral, 115 Main Plaza.

Archbishop José Gomez, S.T.D. was the principal presider with the Rev. Rudy Vela, S.M., D.Min., St. Mary’s University vice president for Mission and Identity delivered the homily. The Hon. Elma Salinas Ender, 341st Judicial District in Laredo, offered reflections on the importance of this occasion to the legal profession.

The theme of this year’s liturgy was local families, especially those stressed by the current economic times. Prayers for guidance and compassion were offered up for the legal practitioners, public officials, and private citizens, including the works of Catholic Charities and pro bono services, who work to address the social and moral disruption to families caused by these tough financial times.

The tradition of Red Mass dates back to 1245 in Europe when both the bench and bar attended the mass together at the beginning of each judicial session. The name is derived from the scarlet robes worn by judges and red vestments worn by priests in honor of the Holy Spirit. Red Mass is celebrated throughout the country for the purpose of requesting God’s blessings and guidance on the administration of justice. The tradition was revived in San Antonio 57 years ago by St. Mary’s University School of Law and the Catholic Lawyers Guild of San Antonio, who organize the annual event with representatives from San Antonio legal organizations, the judiciary and the State Legislature.

The entire legal community and people of all faiths were invited to Red Mass, which was open to the public.

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