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Detroit Mercy Law to Celebrate 104th Annual Red Mass

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August 17, 2016

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law will host its 104th annual Red Mass on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, at noon at Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church located at 629 E. Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit. The church is immediately adjacent to the School of Law Campus.

The Red Mass is an occasion for judges, attorneys, and officials of all faiths to pray together for guidance at the beginning of the new judicial term and join in the Renewal of the Lawyer’s Oath of Commitment.

The Oath 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 the pledge made at the onset of a lawyer’s career. This year, it will be led by the Honorable Victoria A. Roberts. Judge Roberts was appointed by President Clinton in June 1998 to serve as a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan. Prior to that, she was managing partner of the Detroit law firm of Goodman, Eden, Millender & Bedrosian and was an Assistant U.S. Attorney. She also served as President of the State Bar of Michigan, the only black woman to have held that position. Judge Roberts received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law.

The celebrant of the Mass will be Reverend Fred Kammer, S.J., J.D. Father Kammer is a priest, attorney, and a member of the Southern Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). He has been Director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans since 2009. Prior to that, he was the Provincial Superior, guiding their post-Katrina recovery and services. He was the President/CEO of Catholic Charities USA, the nation’s largest voluntary human service network, and he has worked in many programs for the underprivileged. He is also the author of three books on Catholic social thought, spirituality, and charities. Fr. Kammer received a Bachelor of Arts from Spring Hill College, a Juris Doctor from Yale University, and a Master of Divinity from Loyola University Chicago.

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.

Detroit Mercy’s annual Red Mass dates back to 1877, when Detroit College, as the University was then known, began its first year with a mass at Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church to ask the blessing of the Holy Spirit on the coming year’s work. The School of Law continued the tradition when it opened in 1912, hosting the Red Mass on behalf of the Archdiocese of Detroit at Saints Peter and Paul through the present.

Today the Red Mass is attended by judges, lawyers and officials of all faiths, asking God to bless, strengthen and enlighten them, so that in cooperation and mutual trust they may effectively achieve justice for all.

For more information on the Red Mass, contact Denise Hickey, assistant dean of Alumni Relations, at 313-596-0202 or by e-mail at hickeydp@udmercy.edu.

Red Mass

Red Mass

Red Mass

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