Red Mass and Lecture for Legal Professionals

Feb 10, 2024
Bond Chapel & Swift Hall
1025 E. 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Lu Ann Homza College of William & Mary


This event is free and open to the public. 

The Lumen Christi Institute, Calvert House, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, the St. Thomas More Society at the University of Chicago Law School, and the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago are pleased to announce their third annual Red Mass and Lecture

Mass will be held at Bond Chapel at the University of Chicago. The celebrant will be Bishop Jeffrey Grob, JCD.

The lecture will be held at Swift Hall. It will be offered by Dr. Lu Ann Homza.


What is a Red Mass?

A Red Mass is a Mass celebrated for members of the legal community. Through prayerful petition and thanksgiving the Red Mass requests guidance from the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice, and offers the legal community an opportunity to reflect on the God-given power and responsibility of all in the legal profession.

Originating in Europe during the High Middle Ages, the Red Mass is so-called from the red vestments traditionally worn in symbolism of the tongues of fire that descended on the Apostles at Pentecost (Acts 2:1–4). Its name also exemplifies the scarlet robes worn by royal judges that attended the Mass centuries ago.


Lecture by Dr. Lu Ann Homza
“When Witches Litigate: New Evidence from Spanish Archives”

We often wonder whether our legal system is accessible to unaware, under-educated, or vulnerable people who need to use it. Remarkably, between 1610 and 1612, suspected witches in northern Spain turn out to have known exactly how to deploy the courts at their disposal, despite being illiterate and Basque-speaking. The archives in Pamplona preserve multiple prosecutions launched by accused witches when they were defamed and illegally tortured in their villages. The witch-suspects won their cases; the defendants were severely punished. 

This talk will explain the legal strategies, emotional reasoning, and practical measures that suspected witches used to regain their honor and punish their adversaries. Their examples illustrate how wide and deep their knowledge of the law was, even in the most implausible circumstances.



4:00 pm - Mass at Bond Chapel (1025 E. 58th St.)
5:00 pm - Reception and Networking at Swift Hall (1025 E. 58th St.)
5:45 pm - Lecture at Swift Hall (1025 E. 58th St.)
6:30 pm - End

Lu Ann Homza is Harrison Chair and Professor of History at the College of William & Mary. Professor Homza received her B. A. in History from Scripps College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from The University of Chicago. She studies the religious, legal, and cultural history of Europe, especially Spain and Italy, between 1300-1650.  Her book, Religious Authority in the Spanish Renaissance, was published in 2000 by The Johns Hopkins University Press, and named by Choice as an outstanding academic book of the year.   She also authored the first English-language, primary source reader on the Spanish Inquisition, published by Hackett in 2006.  Based on a decade of research in Pamplona’s archives, her book Village Infernos and Witches’ Advocates: Witch Hunting in Navarre, 1609-1614appeared in January 2022 with Penn State University Press.