United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will deliver an address at the 31st annual Red Mass to be held at noon Friday, September 25, in the Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica. An invitational reception hosted by Bishop Anthony G. Bosco and Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., will follow the Mass and lecture.
The Red Mass is celebrated annually in over 25 cities across the United States to invoke God’s blessing on members of the bench and bar at the start of the legal year. The Red Mass takes its name from the fact that celebrants of the 13th century in Europe were vested in red, and the lord high justices of the day dressed in scarlet.
Bishop Bosco will be the principal celebrant at the Mass, which is hosted by the Diocese of Greensburg and Saint Vincent Archabbey, Seminary and College. Archabbot Douglas will be a concelebrant.
Justice Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court by President George Bush and took his seat on October 23, 1991. Prior to that, from 1990 to 1991, he served as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
From 1981 to 1982 he was Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, and from 1982 to 1990 he was Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
He was admitted to law practice in Missouri in 1974, and served as an Assistant Attorney General of Missouri from 1974 to 1977, an attorney with the Monsanto Company from 1977 to 1979, and Legislative Assistant to Senator John Danforth from 1979 to 1981.
Justice Thomas received his early education in Savannah, Georgia, attending Saint Benedict the Moor Catholic School , Saint Pius X High School and Saint John Vianney Seminary. He continued his studies for a year (1967-1968) at Immaculate Conception Abbey Seminary, Missouri, which like Saint Vincent Seminary is sponsored by Benedictine monks. He then transferred to Holy Cross College, Worcester, Massachusetts, where he received an A.B., with honor, in 1971. He earned a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1974.
Born in Pin Point, Georgia, near Savannah, June 23, 1947, Justice Thomas is married to Virginia Lamp. They have one child, Jamal Adeen.
The Benedictines have a long history in Georgia, the birthplace of Justice Thomas. Following the Civil War, Boniface Wimmer, Saint Vincent’s first Archabbot, established a school for young African-Americans on Skidaway Island, near Savannah. Today, Saint Vincent Benedictines continue their presence in Savannah at the Benedictine Priory and Benedictine High School.