The appellation “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.
Red Mass 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.
Creighton University School of Law holds the annual Mass every fall semester at St. John’s church on Creighton’s campus.