Call to ‘Intense’ Prayer: Boston Archdiocese Responds to Satanic Temple’s Convention

The Satanic Temple, which, according to its website, denies the existence of God and Satan, is a political activist group known for protesting religious symbolism in public spaces and mocking Christianity.

St. Michael the Archangel.
St. Michael the Archangel. (photo: thederek412 (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr)

The Archdiocese of Boston is responding to the Satanic Temple’s “SatanCon” event in Boston with scheduled eucharistic adoration, Catholic devotions, and “intense prayer.”

“At the direction of the cardinal [Sean O’Malley], we are approaching it through a response balanced and focused on prayer,” archdiocesan spokesman Terrence Donilon told CNA April 17.

“SatanCon,” as the Satanic Temple calls the event, is sold out and is being held from Friday to Sunday, April 28–30, at the Boston Marriott Copley Place to celebrate the organization’s history and values.

The Satanic Temple, which, according to its website, denies the existence of God and Satan, is a political activist group known for protesting religious symbolism in public spaces and mocking Christianity by offering “unbaptism” and hosting “black masses.”

The group seeks to “embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions,” its website says.

Nevertheless, the group’s satanic imagery and use of the word “satan” to attract people to its cause has prompted the Archdiocese of Boston’s prayerful response.

“We are finalizing a list of places throughout our whole archdiocese where we will gather in adoration and prayer. All of our shrines have agreed to be a part of this, and most of our monasteries,” Donilon said. 

“Our men and women religious will be invited to more intense prayer during that weekend. In addition, many of our parishes will be opening up during the three days ... for adoration and Masses with this intention,” he said.

The archdiocese is offering parishes prayer cards while encouraging the recitation of the St. Michael the Archangel prayer, Donilon said.

Several parishes have already began to announce prayer initiatives in reparation for SatanCon.

The Satanic Temple has dedicated SatanCon to Boston Democratic Mayor Michelle Wu. In 2016, the Boston City Council, which Wu served on at the time, denied the Satanic Temple’s request to deliver an “invocation” before the meeting, the Boston Globe reported.

“This event is dedicated to Boston mayor Michelle Wu for her unconstitutional efforts to keep TST out of Boston’s public spaces,” the group said.

In February, the Satanic Temple announced the opening of a free abortion clinic in New Mexico offering prescriptions for drugs that cause abortion.

The group says the online clinic will provide medication abortion pills by mail to those “who wish to perform the Satanic Temple’s religious abortion ritual.”

In 2014, the Satanic Temple held a “black mass” on Harvard University’s campus. The Satanic Temple doesn’t offer an explanation of a “black mass” on its website. However, it has been widely reported that a black mass, which historically includes the desecration of a eucharistic Host, is an inverted parody of the Catholic Mass.

In recent years, the organization has also protested prayer in school and Christian-themed imagery displayed on public space.

The Archdiocese of Boston responded to the Harvard event by calling for prayer for those involved in the black mass “that they may come to appreciate the gravity of their actions, and in asking Harvard to disassociate itself from this activity.” 

In 2019, the Satanic Temple of Houston hosted a black mass. Following the event, the group said “The Catholics and their fat mama Mary did not stop our black mass. The consecrated host was defiled, destroyed, and swept into the trash where it belongs. Thank you Brash brewing company for hosting this wonderful event! Public Unbaptism early 2020 y’all! #HAILSATAN.”

In response to an inquiry from CNA, the Satanic Temple said it is not planning to hold a black mass during the conference next week, nor does it have possession of a eucharistic Host.