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Bishop Koenig to preside, Msgr. Fredrik Hansen to deliver homily at St. Thomas More Society Red Mass Oct. 1

Bishop Koenig receives the gifts from Padua Academy principal Mary McClory and student Izabel Jipson during the annual Red Mass at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. Dialog photo/Don Blake

Bishop Koenig will be the celebrant and Msgr. Fredrik Hansen the homilist for the Red Mass hosted Oct. 1 by the St. Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Wilmington.

The annual Mass is 4 p.m. at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine in Wilmington and is followed by a complimentary dinner in the church hall.

Msgr. Hansen is dean of seminarians and assistant professor of pastoral studies at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore.

He was ordained to the priesthood in 2007 for the Diocese of Oslo, Norway. He holds academic degrees from the University of Oslo (B.A.), the University of London (M.A.), the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (S.T.B.), and the Pontifical Gregorian University (J.C.L., J.C.D.). He has served as private secretary to the bishop of Oslo, secretary to the Norwegian Council of Catholic Bishops, and ecclesiastical judge in the tribunal in Oslo. During his time in Rome, he was vice-rector at the Pontifical Teutonic College Santa Maria dell’Anima and subsequently studied at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. Prior to coming to St. Mary’s, Msgr. Hansen served in the diplomatic corps of the Holy See, at the nunciature in Honduras (2013–2015), at the mission to the United Nations in Vienna (2015–2019), and at the mission to the United Nations in New York (2019–2022).

The St. Thomas More Society is a group of people of various faiths from the legal profession committed to the examples of St. Thomas More. The local group was founded in 1988 with approximately 100 members of the Delaware bar. The society has grown over the years and has served the Diocese of Wilmington and members of the local bar.

The Red Mass is celebrated for lawyers, judges, law school professors, law students and government officials, marking the opening of the judicial calendar. Members of the legal profession request “guidance from the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice,” according to the society.

The Mass originated in the High Middle Ages in Europe and gets its name from the red vestments traditionally worn in symbolism of the tongues of fire – the Holy Spirit – that descended on the Apostles at Pentecost. It also exemplifies the scarlet robes worn by royal judges at the Mass centuries ago.