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Retiring Judge Patrick J. Duggan '58 to Administer Lawyer's Oath of Commitment at 103rd Annual Red Mass

September 29, 2015

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law will host their 103rd annual Red Mass on Tuesday, Sept. 29 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.

UDM’s Red Mass is an occasion for judges, lawyers 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 Honorable Patrick J. Duggan ’58The 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 Patrick J. Duggan ’58 of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Judge Duggan has served on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan since January 1987 and is currently a Senior Judge. Appointed by President Ronald Reagan, Judge Duggan previously served on the Wayne County Circuit Court from 1977 to 1987 and was a senior partner of a private law firm in Livonia, Michigan. He completed his undergraduate degree at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and earned his Juris Doctor degree from University of Detroit School of Law in 1958, where he has served as President of the American Inn of Court since 1999 and Master of the Bench since 1986.

Judge Duggan will retire from the bench the following day on September 30 after 38 years of honorable judicial service to the people of the State of Michigan and the United States. His grandson, UDM alumnus Michael Edward Duggan Jr. ’13, will introduce him for the Oath. They will be joined by Judge Duggan's son, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, and family.

The celebrant of the Mass will be the Most Reverend George V. Murry, S.J., Ph.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio. Bishop Murry has held many important positions in Catholic dioceses and academic institutions, most notably in Detroit as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at University of Detroit Mercy (1994 - 95) and as a past member of the Boards of UDM and Loyola Academy. Since 2002, he has also served on the Board of Catholic Relief Services, the overseas arm of the U.S. Bishops, which provides food, clothing, shelter, and medicine for those in need.

Red Mass TopThe 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.

University of 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 Church to ask the blessings of the Holy Spirit on the coming year’s work.  The School of Law continued the tradition when it opened in 1912, again 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 our civic and religious leaders, all servants of the law and all people of faith, so that in cooperation and mutual trust we may more effectively achieve justice and freedom for all. Visit the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law website for more information.

For more information on the Red Mass, contact Denise Hickey, assistant dean of Alumni Relations and Special Projects, at 313 596-0202 or by e-mail at

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