by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Members of the legal professions from both the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will be seeing red this fall — and that’s a good thing.
The annual Red Mass will be celebrated at 2 p.m. on Oct. 11 at the Cathedral of St. Peter, 409 N. 15th St., Kansas City, Kansas. The main celebrant and homilist will be Msgr. Stuart Swetland, president of Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas.
History records the first Red Mass occurring in 1245 in Paris. It was done to mark the beginning of the term of court for judges, prosecutors and attorneys.
The celebration of the Red Mass spread across Europe and around the world. Today, annual fall Red Masses are also attended by politicians, law students, law professors, government officials and anyone else involved in the legal profession.
But what about the “red” in the Red Mass?
The term may have come about because of the red robes worn by the medieval judges.
But it also may come from the red vestments of the clerics, because the Red Mass is a special time of prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide the members of the legal professions in the pursuit of justice and to grant them wisdom as they carry out their great responsibilities.
This year’s Red Mass is sponsored by the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas, the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development, the Kansas City Lawyers Guild, the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
It’s a local tradition that the Red Mass is celebrated each fall, and the archdiocese and the diocese alternate as hosts. This year, the Red Mass will be celebrated in Kansas.
But this year there will also be some changes, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Kathryn Robards, CFNEK marketing coordinator.
Unlike in previous years, there will not be a reception after the Red Mass, said Robards. Seating is limited. The customary masking, handwashing and social distancing will be observed.
Additionally, a livestream option will be available for those who cannot attend in person. That link will be provided here.
Those who wish to attend the Red Mass must register by going online to: cfnek.org/redmass.
For additional information about the Red Mass, go to the website of the Catholic Lawyer’s Guild of Kansas City.