October 1, 2006

Former Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice honored at annual Red Mass

The fifth annual Red Mass is at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at Sacred Heart Chapel, Saint Benedict’s Monastery, on the College of Saint Benedict campus, St. Joseph. The public is invited to attend.

A reception follows the Mass at Teresa Reception Center, Main Building, CSB. Those who wish to attend the reception must register by Nov. 2.

John Simonett, a former associate justice with the Minnesota Supreme Court, will be honored at the Red Mass as recipient of the Fidelis Apparitor Award. The award, which means “faithful servant” in Latin, will be given to individuals who have been good and faithful servants of the law.

Honorees are chosen by virtue of their exemplary service, outstanding competence and leadership, and their adherence to the directive in the Rule of Saint Benedict: “No one is to pursue what is judged better for oneself, but instead, what is judged better for someone else.”

Simonett is a 1948 graduate of Saint John’s University, Collegeville. Following his graduation cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1951, he was a partner from 1951-80 at Rosenmeier and Simonett in Little Falls, Minn.

Simonett served as an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1980-94. He then joined the Minneapolis law firm of Greene Espel as a partner in August 1994. He serves as a mediator and arbitrator, listed with the American Arbitration Association and authorized under state’s rules governing alternative dispute resolution.

The celebrant and homilist for the Red Mass is Abbot John Klassen, OSB, of Saint John’s Abbey. A welcome will be given by Sister Nancy Bauer, OSB, prioress for Saint Benedict’s Monastery.

The readers include Judge James Rosenbaum, chief judge, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota; and Minnesota First District Judge Martha Simonett, who is John Simonett’s daughter. A reflection will be provided by Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Russell Anderson.

The judicial year in many jurisdictions around the world is traditionally opened with a Red Mass. The celebration of the Mass is designed to provide judges, lawyers, civic leaders and academics of all faiths the opportunity to reflect on the powers and responsibilities that are part of their offices.

Red Mass participants ask God to grant the virtues and gifts necessary for the proper and just administration of their duties. The Red Mass name comes from the red vestments and garments that early legal participants wore on this occasion.