ChesterNewMatterWinter2017 - 10

CCBA Feature

By Karyn Seace, Esquire


Come Open the Judicial Year


id you know that there is an official judicial year?
It is true, and there is an official opening too. In
the United States, a judicial year commences on
the first Monday in October, and it traditionally opens
by a ceremony called the Red Mass. The Red Mass is
celebrated annually for judges, clerks, tip staff, attorneys,
paralegals, secretaries, sheriffs, courthouse employees,
police officers, and anyone else who works in, or with,
the legal profession. The purpose is to allow a quiet
opportunity to reflect on the tremendous responsibility
that we all share together in helping those who seek
justice in our legal system.

the first Red Mass was held at Saints Peter and Paul
Church in Detroit, MI. Nearly a century and a quarter
later, Chester County celebrated its first Red Mass at
Saint Agnes Church, on October 25, 1995.
Now that Chester County is in its third judicial
century, the joy of the formal opening of the judicial year
is as important as ever. I have attended the Red Mass
every year since 1997. It has become a tradition for my
family and friends who also accompany me. Each year
there is a reception afterwards, which is a chance for all
of us to socialize. It's nice to meet colleagues' spouses
and see their children.

The Red Mass has been happening for many hundreds
of years. The first recorded Red Mass was celebrated in
Paris in the year 1245. England celebrated its first one
in the reign of Edward I in 1272, and it quickly spread
throughout all of Europe. But, it would be approximately
a century after the country's birth before the first Red
Mass would be celebrated in the United States. In 1877,

The Red Mass was be held at Saint Agnes, on
Wednesday, October 25, 2017, at 5:00 p.m., with a
reception immediately following. It is open to all. I look
forward to sharing my tradition with all of you as well as
meeting your family and friends in future years.

10 | New Matter


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