About the Red Mass

Red MassA Red Mass is a Mass celebrated annually in the Catholic Church for lawyers, judges and government officials. The Mass requests guidance from the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice, and offers the opportunity to reflect on what Catholics believe is the God-given power and responsibility of all in the legal profession.

History

The custom of a special Mass for the Bench and Bar arose in the early 13th century, with the first recorded Red Mass being celebrated in Paris in 1245.

In England, the tradition of the Red Mass began about 1310. The entire Bench and Bar attended the Red Mass together at the opening of each term of Court. The Mass was celebrated in honour of the Holy Spirit, for which red vestments were worn. The judges of the High Court at that time, who were all doctors of law, also wore red robes. Hence, the celebrations became popularly known as the Red Mass.

Today

The Catholic Lawyers' Society of Kuala Lumpur celebrates this glorious Mass annually and the appellation "Red Mass" customarily refers to the Mass initiating the legal year of the Society. The Society celebrated its first Red Mass in the year 1995 and was presided then by His Most Reverend Anthony Soter Fernandez, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia together with other members of the clergy.

Today the Red Mass is attended by lawyers, judges and government officials of all faiths who ask God to bless, strengthen, and enlighten civic and religious leaders, all servants of the law, and all people of faith, so that in cooperation and mutual trust, justice and freedom for all may be more effectively achieved.

Red Mass Celebrations

No.
Year
Celebrant
President
1.
1995
Most Rev. Archbishop Soter Fernandez (Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur)
Cecilia Fernandez (Oct 1994 - Mar 1997)
2.
1996
Most Rev. Archbishop Soter Fernandez (Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur)
Cecila Fernandez
3.
1997
Rt Rev. Bishop Anthony Selvanayagam (Bishop of Penang)
Cecilia Fernandez
4.
1998
Rt Rev Bishop Murphy Pakiam (Auxiliary Bishop of Kuala Lumpur)
Kem Kumar Lopez (Mar 1997 - Mar 1999)
5.
1999
Rt. Rev. Bishop James Chan (Bishop of Malacca – Johore)
Kem Kumar Lopez
6.
2000
Most Rev. Archbishop Soter Fernandez (Kuala Lumpur)
Leonard Teoh (Mar 1999 - Mar 2001)
7.
2001
Rt Rev. Bishop Carlos Belo (Bishop of Dili, East Timor)
Leonard Teoh
8.
2002
Most Rev. Archbishop Adriano Bernardini (Apostolic Delegate to Malaysia)
Francis Brigged (Mar 2001 - Mar 2003)
9.
2003
Most Rev. Archbishop Nicholas Chia (Archbishop of Singapore)
Francis Brigged
10.
2004
Rt Rev Bishop Paul Tan (Bishop of Malacca-Johore)
Chan Yat Hee (Mar 2003 - Mar 2004)
11.
2005
Most Rev. Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio (Apostolic Delegate to Malaysia)
Genevieve Yee Geok Lay (Mar 2004 - Mar 2005)
12.
2006
Most Rev. Archbishop John Ha (Archbishop of Kuching)
Francis Pereira (Mar 2005 - Mar 2007)
13.
2007
Rt Rev Bishop Anthony Lee (Bishop of Miri)
Francis Pereira
14.
2008
Most Rev. Archbishop Emeritus Soter Fernandez (Kuala Lumpur)
Chrishanthini Sebastiampillai (Mar 2007 - Mar 2008)
15.
2009
Rev Fr. Simon Labrooy (Parish Priest Church of St. Thomas More)
Mabel Sabastian (Mar 2008 - Mar 2010)
16.
2010
Rev Fr. Lawrence Andrew (The Herald Editor, Parish Priest St. Anne, Port Klang)
Mabel Sabastian
17.
2011
Rt Rev. Bishop Joseph Hii (Auxiliary Bishop of Sibu)
Joy Appukuttan (Mar 2010 – Present)
18. 2012 Rt Rev. Bishop Cornelius Sim (Bishop of Brunei) Joy Appukuttan
19. 2013 Rt Rev. Bishop Sebastian Francis (Bishop of Penang) Joy Appukuttan

 

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