The Thomas More Lawyers Guild of Toronto invites you to celebrate the 91th Annual Red Mass to mark the Opening of Ontario's Courts
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THE HISTORY OF THE RED MASS
The Thomas More Lawyers’ Guild of Toronto traces its history back to the
13th century with the initiation of the Red Mass. In the Cathedral of Paris in 1245,
a Mass was held to invoke the guidance of the Holy Spirit on the judges of the
Ecclesiastical Courts. It is believed the first liturgy was celebrated in honour of St.
Ives of Brittany, the patron saint of lawyers. The practice of the Red Mass spread to
England in 1310 during the reign of King Edward I. The entire Bench and Bar attended
this special Eucharist at the beginning of the spring term of Court. The Name "Red Mass"
became a tradition because of the red robes worn by the judges and the red vestments
worn by the priests. The Red Mass has been held annually in Westminster Cathedral, London,
since 1904. The Red Mass was first held in Toronto in 1925. Its sponsorship was assumed
by the Guild of Our Lady of Good Counsel in 1931 and by The Thomas More Lawyers' Guild
of Toronto since 1968. One of the primary objectives of the Thomas More Lawyers’
Guild of Toronto is the sponsorship of the Red Mass.