Over a thousand Christians from all denominations gathered for a peace walk and prayer rally in response to a ‘black mass’ in Oklahoma City yesterday evening.
According the the local news service NewsOK, hundreds of Catholics met together for a mass service on the lawn outside the civic centre before the satanic service took place at the theatre inside the centre.
The ‘black mass’ service, in which a statue of the Virgin Mary was desecrated, was lead by satanist Adam Daniels who holds an annual public ceremony in the city each year. On Christmas Eve 2015, he defiled another image of the Blessed Mother on a pavement outside a Catholic Church. This year’s ceremony was deliberately timed to mock the Feast of Assumption.
Fox 25 reported that the attendance of the black mass was low. Daniels blamed the Christian counter-protests for keeping people away from the satanic ritual.
One of the group that helped to organise the prayer rally was The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property.
One attendee told Fox 25: “I came down here today to not really protest the satanic mass, but to represent my father, Jesus Christ".
NewsOK reported that the over a thousand Christians attended the prayer walk.
Brian Estabrooks, a local Catholic who joined the walk with his family told NewsOK: “For us, the black mass is a travesty. It strikes at the heart of the community, and I think they (Satanists) are trying to send a message in Oklahoma City, the Bible Belt, a community known for its faith".
Reverend William Novak represented Archbishop Paul Coakley at the event. Earlier in the day, Coakley had urged the global community to pray fervently “in response to the blasphemous event".
Reverend Novak told the crowd: “We are all brothers and sisters unified in peace and in prayer. It is why we are here today to stand against evil".
Those gathered prayed the rosary and sang hymns outside St Joseph Old Cathedral. Once inside the church, NewsOK reported that there was standing room only as the crowd listened to Christian leaders from across the city speak.
Reverend Jorge Cabrera, of Little Flower Catholic Church, told the protestors: “This is important to show solidarity with our fellow Christians, to make ourselves visible. Sometimes people think that evil is prevailing, but God is alive and active as always".
Despite the outcry against satanic services taking place in a public building, the city officials have said that the black mass service had the necessary permit and is protected under freedom of speech.