(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Cambridge, Mass.) - Instead of a Black Mass on Harvard University’s campus Monday night, there were several prayerful protests of the now canceled on-campus Satanic Temple re-enactment.
“It took them how long to cancel it, I mean come on, only now when we’re walking they cancel it, it’s ridiculous,” said Theresa Bidrin of Boston.
Hundreds took part in a Eucharistic procession from MIT’s Chapel to St Paul Parish, and dozens took part in a rosary recitation at Harvard’s Memorial Hall, where the Harvard Extension School’s Cultural Studies Club had planned to hold the Black Mass.
“I think they’re getting the message maybe that the world doesn’t want this,” Kevin Bailey of Westford, Mass. said.
"I know the cardinal’s pleased with these latest developments, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that they are intent on desecrating the Eucharist,” Terry Donilon with the Archdiocese of Boston added.
Former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn said, “We’re all for freedom of expression but something as provocative and as ugly and as mean-spirited as this, really there’s no place for it, this is un-American.”
“There’s no intrinsic educational value to a Black Mass, it’s contrary to the assertion of the advisors, it’s not a cultural event, it’s a hate fest,” added C.J. Doyle with the Catholic Action League of Mass.
The Harvard Cultural Studies group says the Satanic Temple group will stage its own black mass at "an undisclosed location."
"We are disappointed by the self-righteousness of those who conspire to silence others simply because they claim offense. It is also profoundly disturbing to see an entity erroneously labeled as a hate group because people do not share their faith or take the time to understand their beliefs or the meanings behind their rituals," released the cultural studies group in a statement.
Supporters like Kennedy School Professor Christopher Robichaud saw the re-enactment instead as an opportunity for provocative discussion.
Professor Robichaud said, “I think things like this force us to think about what religious liberty means to us and toleration and free speech.”
But Harvard senior Aurora Griffin felt vindicated that her efforts to present the University President with more than 60,000 signatures petitioning the Black Mass had been successful.
“I am very pleased that my religion is not going to be desecrated or my gender objectified or my university embarrassed by these actions," Griffin said.