BATH, pa. - The prayers of Catholics may have been answered.
They gathered across the country Monday, including in the Lehigh Valley, after hearing of a planned satanic mass sponsored by a student group at Harvard University.
"We decided to, in response to that, and other similar desecrations that occur around the world, have a holy hour for reparation," said Larry Meo, president of the Lehigh Valley chapter of Juventutem, an international organization made up of young Catholics especially interested in the traditional Latin Mass.
He was part of the service at Sacred Heart Church in Bath, Northampton County Monday night. He said people also gathered in Boston and Miami.
"If something like this was happening in Allentown, at one of the universities around here, I would be very encouraged as a young adult to know that the Juventutems in Miami and Boston were having holy hours to support us," said Meo.
Originally the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club was going to sponsor the black mass Monday as part of a series of events exploring different cultures and religious traditions. The church says the mass mocks the Catholic mass.
Monday evening a statement from the group said it would no longer be sponsoring the black mass because a lack of location.
Part of the statement said, "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."
Later Monday night, the Harvard Crimson reported the organization that was going to facilitate the black mass, the Satanic Temple, said it no longer planned to hold the event Monday.
Bradley Barnhorst, the director of Sacred Heart Schola who was at the service in Bath, happens to be a Harvard graduate.
"It was very distressing to hear of that, a club, even if it was the extension school and one club doing it, would do such a disrespectful thing," he said. "I'm hoping that it just ends and stops because obviously it's a terrible, terrible thing to think that people would do that, but I'm glad that Harvard's involvement has ended with it."
Allentown, PA 18102