A large and diverse crowd of more than 1,000 people gathered Aug. 15 in downtown Oklahoma City for a unity walk and prayer service, an event scheduled to counter a Satanic “black mass” being held concurrently a few blocks away at the city’s Civic Center Music Hall.
The event’s rallying point was the well-known “Jesus Wept” statue, on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral — and directly across the street from the Oklahoma City National Memorial, site of the 1995 Murrah Building bombing.
“As we stand here in this particular place, we are reminded of what evil has done to our city and the lives that it has destroyed,” Father William Novak said, addressing the crowd prior to the unity prayer walk.
“But we are also aware of the good that rests in every human heart, good that overcomes evil, that seeks healing and community and peace,” said Father Novak, vicar general for the archdiocese and pastor of St. Francis Church in Oklahoma City. “And it is why we are gathered here today. To stand together against evil and rely upon the goodness of God in whose image we were created. He is the source of all that is good and holy. We ask him to dispel all darkness and evil of every kind in our city, our nation and the world.”
This is not Oklahoma’s first encounter with the Satanic cult. Two years ago, the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu sold tickets to another “black mass,” also held at the city’s Civic Center. In response to the Satanists’ parody of the Catholic Mass that year, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley held a Holy Hour of prayer at St. Francis Church, followed by a Eucharistic procession through neighborhood streets.
This past Christmas Eve, the same group mocked an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary in front of St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral while Mass was being celebrated inside.
So it is no coincidence that the self-proclaimed “theistic Satanists” planned this “black mass” — called the “consumption of Mary” — on the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Aug. 15.
After joint discussions on the Satanic attacks on this city, Oklahoma representatives from various denominations and faith traditions decided it was important for the Christian community to come together as a sign of unity, peace and faith in the one true God.
United in Christ
Walking arm-in-arm, the religious leaders — Catholic, Lutheran, United Methodist, Pentecostal, Southern Baptist, Episcopalian, nondenominational — led a spirited crowd on the brief walk from the “And Jesus Wept” statue to the First United Methodist Church for an ecumenical prayer service.
| The walk started near the statue “And Jesus Wept” in downtown Oklahoma City.
Processing through downtown city streets under police and security escort, participants walked in silence, while some prayed the Rosary or recited Marian prayers, and one group sang “Victory in Jesus” in Spanish.
“Walking down the street in downtown Oklahoma City, arm and arm with religious leaders, with 1,000 people walking behind us singing and praying was a powerful sign that good will always overcome evil and that we are not alone in this fight,” Father Novak said after the event, “and that we are united by our faith in the one true God, the source of all that is good and holy.”
At the standing-room-only ecumenical prayer service, pastors and religious leaders took turns leading the crowd in specific prayers, along with Scripture readings and spiritual hymns such as, “Holy, Holy, Holy” and “We are One in the Spirit.” Community prayers included petitions for the family, for the state of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City, for the government, for education as well as for racial reconciliation.
The crowd offered a spontaneous standing ovation to Staff Sgt. Anthony Carter of the Oklahoma City Police Department when he stepped to the podium in full uniform to pray for the military and law enforcement.
“I am delighted by the show of unity in our community,” Archbishop Coakley wrote in an email from Spain, where he and Bishop James Sean Wall of Gallup, New Mexico, are walking the Camino de Santiago on a previously scheduled personal pilgrimage. “I am proud of the organizers and all who participated … as so many people turned out to pray for healing and protection against all of the manifestations of evil and sin that pull us apart and set us against one another and against God our creator, his son Jesus Christ our redeemer, and bring dishonor to Mary and all of the saints.”
On his Facebook page, Archbishop Coakley reminded the Church of Oklahoma of his united prayers on Aug. 15, noting, “Bishop Wall and I just celebrated Mass in the beautiful parish church of San Salvador in Grandas de Salime along the Camino de Santiago. I offered the Mass in solidarity with all who will participate in person or in prayer in tonight’s prayer walk in OKC and in gratitude for all who have been praying for conversion and an end to the desecrations and dishonor to Our Lord in the holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin that have been taking place in our community. St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us!”
María Ruiz Scaperlanda writes from Oklahoma.