The Catholic Bishops of Florida will celebrate the 38th Annual Red Mass — in which participants pray for divine inspiration and guidance for those serving in the three branches of government and for members of the legal profession in Florida — at the Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More, 900 W. Tennessee Street, Tallahassee, on March 20 at 6 p.m.
The lectors/readers this year will include Sen. David Simmons of Altamonte Springs and Rep. Jeanette M. Nuñez of Miami.
The Bishops of Florida/Mass Celebrants will include Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami; Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg; Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito of Palm Beach; Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice; Bishop John G. Noonan of Orlando; Bishop Felipe J. Estévez of St. Augustine; and Bishop Gregory L. Parkes, Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee.
The Red Mass, an 800-year-old tradition, originated in France in the early 13th century as a service in which God was called upon to guide lawyers and judges in accordance with the truth as they pursued justice. The tradition soon spread to England where, during the reign of King Edward I, the entire bench and bar would mark the opening of each term of court by attending a mass together.
In those services, the priest-celebrants, as well as the judges of the high court, wore red robes to signify their willingness to defend the truth inspired by the Holy Spirit, even at the cost of shedding one’s blood. Thus, the celebration became popularly known as the “Red Mass.”
In Tallahassee, the Red Mass is scheduled annually during Catholic Days at the Capitol. Additional Red Masses are held throughout Florida and the U.S. at various times during the year.