Archdiocese calls for prayerful response to 'SatanCon'

BOSTON -- The archdiocese is asking the faithful to commit to prayer, but refrain from public protests, to counter the Satanic Temple's upcoming multi-day Boston convention.

"SatanCon" will take place April 28-30 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place and organizers are billing the sold-out event as "the largest satanic gathering in history."

According to the Satanic Temple's website, their members do not believe in the supernatural, or in symbolic "evil," but view Satan as "a symbol of the eternal rebel." They encourage "reasonable agnosticism," and consider "blasphemy" a demonstration of personal independence and rejection of authority. They are also involved in activism for causes in line with their values, including support of abortion.

In an April 3 email to parishes, Vicar General Bishop Mark O'Connell relayed Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley's position that the faithful's response to SatanCon must be "balanced and focused on prayer."

"The balance is between countering its intended evil effects, and drawing attention to it and making it more prominent," Bishop O'Connell said.

The archdiocese is discouraging any protests of the event, which "will only fuel the hate of those who support it and feed the media with images."

"Rather than protesting in person, we hope to storm the Heavens with prayer," Bishop O'Connell said.

All of the shrines and most of the monasteries in the archdiocese have agreed to hold more opportunities for adoration and prayer during the convention weekend. Men and women religious are being invited to more intense prayer, and the Prayer of St. Michael is encouraged.

Many parishes will also be open for prayer, adoration, and Masses with this intention. Some are holding additional events, such as confessions, consecrations, eucharistic processions, or lectures. A few will host talks from clergy about spiritual warfare.

The archdiocese is also providing Prayers of the Faithful to be read at daily Mass on April 28 and at the weekend Masses of April 29 and 30.

Leading up to and during the convention, parishes are asked to be vigilant during the distribution of Holy Communion and ensure the protection of tabernacles in case anyone attempts to steal or desecrate the Blessed Sacrament. Parishes that have connections to local police or officers in the congregation are encouraged to communicate with them.

"The archdiocese is not aware of any imminent threat, but in the presence of the 'largest satanic gathering in history' we have reason to be wary," Bishop O'Connell said.