On 2 February, a number of Thomas More Law School (North Sydney) students and lecturers attended the 2017 Red Mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney. The Red Mass is organised each year by the St Thomas More Society, the guild for Catholic lawyers and law students. The Red Mass is an annual liturgical celebration for judges, lawyers, law school lecturers, law students and parliamentarians.
During the Red Mass the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit is sought for all those who seek justice, for the elected officials who enact the laws, and for the judges, magistrates, barristers and solicitors who administer them.
The tradition of the Red Mass began in the High Middle Ages and is so named because of the red vestments worn by the bishop and his clergy (representative of the 'tongues of fire' of the Holy Spirit that Christian tradition states descended upon the Apostles at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4)) as well as the scarlet robes worn by the highest judicial officials.
The 2017 Red Mass was celebrated by His Grace the Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, Archbishop of Sydney, and concelebrated by His Lordship the Most Rev Tony Randazzo, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney. Prior to joining the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), Archbishop Fisher, a graduate of the University of Sydney Law School, worked as a civil lawyer in Sydney. Bishop Randazzo possesses qualifications in canon (i.e. church) law having graduated from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Bishop Randazzo also preached the homily.
The Capella Sublima, the choir of St John’s College within the University of Sydney, sang the Mass under the direction of Mr Richard Perrignon, the college’s Master of Sacred Music. Mr Perrignon is himself a practising barrister.
The Mass was attended by the Hon Dominic Perrottet MP, NSW Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations, Mr Luke Foley MP, Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, various other members of NSW Parliament, the Hon Tom Bathurst QC, Chief Justice of NSW, many other judges and magistrates from various courts and tribunals, together with barristers, solicitors, law lecturers, law students and members of the general public.
After the Red Mass, students and lecturers met with Archbishop Fisher and guests in Cathedral House for morning tea.
It is hoped that that the Red Mass will become an annual event for the students of the Thomas More Law School.