21st Annual Red Mass for the Opening of Court

21st Annual Red Mass for the Opening of Court

The Right Reverend Justin G. Brown, O.S.B.
Abbot, Saint Joseph Abbey
St. Benedict, Louisiana

When: Friday, September 5, 2014, 9:00 am
Official date of opening of court for the 4th Judicial District,
Parishes of Morehouse and Ouachita

Where: Saint Matthew Catholic Church
121 Jackson Street, Monroe

All are invited to attend
The 21st annual Red Mass will be held the Friday after Labor Day, which officially marks the opening of the Fourth District Court. The Mass will be attended by judges, lawyers, and elected officials from throughout northeast Louisiana. Area religious leaders of various denominations and faith traditions will join in the service. All will gather to ask the blessings of the Holy Spirit upon the administration of justice.

The Red Mass is held annually at historic Saint Matthew Church, the oldest church edifice in Monroe (erected beginning in 1896) and the oldest Catholic church in north Louisiana (parish founded in 1851).


a. List of special features of this year's event
b. What is the Red Mass
c. Biographical sketch on Rt. Rev. Justin G. Brown, O.S.B.
Abbot, Saint Joseph Abbey, St. Benedict, Louisiana
d. Insert on Life Choices Pregnancy Resource Center
e. Invitations to Red Mass and Opening of Court Ceremony

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Judge Wendell Manning, 361-2270

Special features of this year's Red Mass:

The principal celebrant for the Mass is the Bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport, The Most Rev. Michael G. Duca. Area ministers from other Christian denominations will also participate.

The sermon or homily will be preached by the Right Reverend Justin G. Brown, O.S.B.(Order of Saint Benedict), Abbot, Saint Joseph Abbey, St. Benedict, Louisiana.

The service will include a memorial for the following deceased
members of the 4th Judicial District Bar Association:

Mr. Thomas V. Gardner, Jr., Esq.
Mr. Haynes L. Harkey, Jr., Esq.
Mr. Johnny Carl Parkerson Esq.

A special collection will be taken to support the work of Life Choices
Pregnancy Resource Center.
What is the Red Mass?

The formal name is the "Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit." ("Votive" indicates that the Mass is offered for a particular intention.)

The Red Mass is so named from the red vestments worn by the ministers celebrating the Mass; from the red robes traditionally worn by judges in the Middle Ages; and red is the color in the Church symbolizing the tongues of fire that represent the Holy Spirit.
c. The tradition of the Red Mass, which is offered to invoke the Holy Spirit as the source of wisdom, understanding, counsel and fortitude, goes back many centuries. The custom began in Europe in the 13th century.

The judges in England gather each year at Westminster Cathedral in London. In Rome, the Red Mass marks the opening of the Sacred Roman Rota, the highest judicial body of the Catholic Church. In France, the Red Mass is celebrated at St. Germaine-l'Auxerrois.

The Red Mass was first celebrated in the U.S. in New York in 1928 by Cardinal Patrick Hayes. Since then, many groups of attorneys and judges, including the St. Thomas More Catholic Lawyers Association in New Orleans and the Red Mass Society of Northeast Louisiana, have continued to celebrate the Red Mass. The first Red Mass in Louisiana was celebrated in New Orleans' historic St. Louis Cathedral on October 5, 1953.

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