On September 23, 2014, the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law hosted its 102nd annual Red Mass and Renewal of the Lawyer's Oath at Detroit's historic Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church which is immediately adjacent to the School of Law Campus.
Red Mass is an occasion for judges, lawyers, civic leaders, faculty, and law students of all faiths to pray together at the beginning of the new judicial term, asking the Holy Spirit to bless, strengthen, and enlighten us, so that in cooperation and mutual trust we may effectively achieve justice for all.
The custom of a special religious ceremony for all members of the bench and bar at the opening of each term of the court arose principally in England, France, and Italy in the early 13th century. A Mass was celebrated in honor of the Holy Spirit, for which red vestments were worn. Hence, the celebration became known as the Red Mass.
The Lawyer's Oath of Commitment is recited by all new lawyers in the State of Michigan as a mandatory part of swearing-in ceremonies. Renewal of the Oath is a voluntary means of reaffirming this pledge made at the onset of a lawyer's career. This year's Oath was especially moving, because it was led by Justice Michael F. Cavanagh of the Michigan Supreme Court, who graduated from the University of Detroit in 1962 and from the School of Law in 1966. Justice Cavanagh was recognized for his nearly 42 years of judicial service, as he approached retirement from the bench on January 1, 2015. Phyllis L. Crocker, Dean of the School of Law, introduced Justice Cavanagh, and his daughter, attorney Megan Cavanagh of Garan Lucow Miller, PC, gave special remarks preceding her father's thoughtful words of reflection before leading the Renewal of the Oath.
The celebrant of the Mass was The Most Reverend Donald F. Hanchon, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit. The Catholic Lawyers Society co-sponsored the Mass this year.
The School of Law has hosted the Red Mass on behalf of the Archdiocese of Detroit at Saints Peter and Paul since the School opened in 1912.
Pictured above (left to right): UDM Law Dean Phyllis L. Crocker, UDM President Antoine M. Garibaldi, Justice Michael F. Cavanagh, The Most Reverend Donald F. Hanchon, and attorney Joumana B. Kayrouz.