Red Mass Facts

• The Mass is celebrated in honor of the Holy Spirit with those present seeking wisdom, understanding, counsel and fortitude in the courtroom.

• The first documented Red Mass was celebrated in 1245 in Paris; however, it is believed the Mass was celebrated as far back as 1200.
As of 1310 the Mass had become an annual tradition in England to commemorate the beginning of each new Court term. From England the tradition of a yearly Red Mass spread throughout Europe. The tradition was adopted in the U.S. in the early 20th century.

• The name comes from the red garments worn not only by Royal Judges of the Vatican tribunal, but also by the celebrant. The first Red Mass to take place in the U.S. was held at the Church of St. Andrew in New York City in 1928 with Cardinal Patrick Hayes presiding.

• Beginning in 1953, a Red Mass has been said annually in Washington, D.C. with Supreme Court justices, members of Congress and other government departments and occasionally the president in attendance. Today, the Supreme Court include six Catholic justices – Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

(From George Washington University, History News Network and America Magazine)