San Antonio Celebrates 61st Annual Red Mass

The 61st annual Red Mass, celebrating the San Antonio legal community and inviting blessing on the judicial year, was held Oct. 24 at San Fernando Cathedral.

St. Mary’s University President Thomas M. Mengler, J.D., and Dean of the School of Law Charles E. Cantú, J.D., invited members of the legal community from all faiths to join in the celebration of Red Mass, marking the beginning of the judicial and academic year.

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The Most Rev. Gustavo García-Siller, M.Sp.S., Archbishop of San Antonio, was the principal preside, and The Rev. Martin Leopold served as homilist. The Hon. Larry Noll, of the 408th Civil District Court of Bexar County, offered reflections on the importance of this occasion to the legal profession.

The tradition of Red Mass dates 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 61 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.

St. Mary’s University repeatedly has been nationally recognized for its commitment to service and community engagement. The Carnegie Foundation has given St. Mary’s its prestigious Community Engagement Classification, and St. Mary’s has received the Presidential Award from the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition for service in higher education. St. Mary’s University is a Catholic and Marianist university with a tradition of academic excellence.

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