The Black “Mass” and an Opportunity for Evangelization
The hyped first Black “Mass” in Canada took place last night in Ottawa. There was plenty of media coverage before the event, as well as subsequent coverage of the event, a sample of which is presented below this blog post.
Here is my account of the events surrounding the Black “Mass” preceding, during and after what would become a bit of a circus downtown. Since this was my first venture into this kind of arena (as it was no doubt for everyone else as well – it’s not like we are professionals at this sort of thing), my prediction on what was about to transpire was a mixed bag of cynicism, nothing-burgerishness, and a bit of trepidation too. Cynicism because it was entirely possible that this event was just a publicity stunt to get more customers into the bar. Nothing-burgerishness because typically at these hyped events, nothing really turns out as you expected and nothing really noteworthy happens at all. Fear because something more ominous awaited me given the image I have of Satanists.
I arrived near the Cathedral at about 9:15PM to find parking. After parking my van, I started up the street towards the Cathedral. As I looked up, I noticed the fireworks on Parliament Hill as part of the “Northern Lights — Sound and Light Show”. On any other evening, such a sight would have been enjoyable but on this night, the thought that raced across my mind was one a bit less edifying. This is the night of the Black “Mass” and the fireworks sadly reminded me of “the bearer of light”, otherwise known as Lucifer. Tonight was the night that he and his infernal cohort would be invoked, God’s named blasphemed, and a purported Black “Mass” would take place.
As I walked up the street and turned the corner to approach the steps of the Cathedral, I noticed about 100 people already there. By the time we would depart the Cathedral and make our way to the Koven on Murray Street, the number had swelled to about 200 people. Even the main stream media reported that number, a small miracle indeed — and the Satanists say there is no God! Here are some of the pics of faithful Catholics gathering before going into spiritual combat:
Crowd starting to assemble on the stairs of Notre Dame Cathedral, Ottawa, as the fireworks go off on Parliament Hill. Check out the creepy spider cross the street.
Michael Dopp and his napsack. Lots of sacramentals and stuff for the mission!
Our fearless and courageous priests leading us in prayer. Thank God we still have good, holy and serious priests!
Archbishop Prendergast sending us off with prayers and blessing us with holy water.
As we started down the road for the 5 minute walk, I started praying the Chaplet of St. Michael. (A few weeks previously, I was at one of Dennis & Angelina Girard’s DNA Live Shows at Blessed Sacrament Parish and I was looking around their little Kiosk book store when I happened to notice what I thought was a rosary, but on closer examination did not have the crucifix. I looked a little more closely and then learned all about the Chaplet, and became attracted to it and its promises. I think the Lord was priming me for what was to come.)
As we approached 93 Murray Street, I could hear an amplified voice as if someone had a microphone and a speaker. Sure enough, as the group I was with approached the Koven, that’s what it was. Although the sight before my eyes was a bit comical and stereotypical – a loud and mildly obnoxious preacher with his microphone and signs preaching to “devil worshippers” – I must admit that my heart sank a bit. I did not want this event to be taken over completely by Fundamentalists and portrayed by the media in that way, just because they are the loudest kid on the block who opposed the event. I had envisioned this to be something quite classy and beautiful. This was, after all, principally a Catholic fight against a Black Mass. Fundamentalist anti-Catholics do not believe in the Mass and many of the other sacraments. It was not that I resented their presence or the assistance in prayer, but the whole evening was at risk of being portrayed as something that it was not. Even Hollywood knows that when the devil comes out, you don’t call a preacher. You call a Catholic exorcist. This wasn’t going to be a quiet or uneventful night.
I had originally planned to follow the rest of the crowd and join them on the sidewalk across the street, but something drew me to stand on the sidewalk in front of the Koven and only a few meters away from the door. So there I was, just shortly after 10pm, planted squarely in some bizarre spiritual circus which would be anything but boring. Behind me was a 150-200-strong contingent of Catholic troops of Our Lady…respectful, classy, and very effective in their witness. To the Left of me were the Fundy preachers with their microphone and placards, and who took their turns at loudly preaching to anyone who would listen.
Koven patrons line up for the Black “Mass”.
To the right of me were the bemused Koven patrons who were lined up to enter the bar and
have their curiosity stroked a bit. Around me were a few Koven staff walking excitedly back and forth trying to assess the situation, and probably considering calling the cops who did show up later (but without incident). And directly in front of me was the Koven itself – with a red painted exterior which tried to put on airs of being somewhat luciferian.
And so, the dance started.
I pulled out my St. Michael Chaplet and prayed it. Then the Rosary. Throughout the evening I alternated between the two devotions, trying to keep my focus and concentration and ignoring the reactions and debates that were going on around me, as best I could.
An older man from the Fundamentalist camp approached me and we started having an amicable chat. I probed him a bit about his background. He said he came from the United Church tradition but left because of their liberal trajectory. I asked him if he had considered the Catholic Faith and when he cited the bible as his sole authority, I attempted to give him a Church history lesson on the composition of the bible and what authority he was relying on for its infallibility. I did not get very far before it was his turn to preach from what would become his bully pulpit. He started out addressing the Satanists, but to my utter horror and amazement, he turned and used his pulpit to attack Our Lady and calling out Catholics by name! I couldn’t believe it. Here we are trying to give (I thought) common witness and pray for the Satanists, and this loser launches an attack on Catholic practice surrounding Our Lady and some Marian dogmas. It was wild. I tried to contain myself, but he kept going on and on. And then as some of the Koven customers started to laugh and clap, I had had enough. I walked over while he was preaching and lit into him on two separate occasions…accusing him of dividing the body of Christ, challenging his ignorant claims, and lambasting him about his poor class and integrity in airing his grievances in the context we were in. My blood pressure was through the roof. After the second challenge, I returned to my spot and had to remind myself I needed to calm down and start praying again. I needed to stop taking the bait. Thankfully, he ended his rant shortly thereafter.
Not soon after around 10:45PM or so, CTV showed up. Most media don’t understand the distinctions between a Protestant Fundamentalist and a Catholic, and frankly they don’t care. My worry was that the 11PM news would not have Catholic representation (as had happened in the past). They are more prone to give a Fundamentalist the spot because frankly they are the ones willing to speak out, to their credit. Spotting the reporter, I approached and pointed him towards Our Lady’s army across the street which comprised the real and substantial opposition. Thankfully, he listened and asked to speak to the spokesperson. I quickly scanned the group to see if I could locate Michael, but did not see him so I volunteered to be interviewed. The media report, along with my contribution, can be viewed here. An excerpt –
It’s a blasphemous act and the organizer of this event has said it is blasphemous from his
own mouth, that is a form of hatred. It is a form of hatred against our faith, it is a hatred against the culture that built our country, and that’s why we’re here to show our opposition and also our love and our witness for the people who are going in,” said protester John Pacheco, outside Koven heavy metal bar. (Source: Protest outside Ottawa Black Mass)
After the interview, I returned to my spot, amidst the Catholic hymns and recitation of the Rosary behind me, the loud amplified speaking, and the occasional (although tame) shouts from the Koven’s customers. As I settled down to pray, I started to notice that we were starting to make an impact. The facial expressions and comments indicated that they were appreciative that so many people actually cared to show up. Our witness and behaviour was indeed having an impact. Even people who were walking by, not knowing what was going on, would ask the Koven’s staff. There would be a moment of reflection and they would be on their way. Some people when told what was going on hurried away quickly.
By 11PM, the Fundamentalists had all left, but it was only well past midnight did our Catholic numbers start to fall off. By the time I had left around 1:30AM, there were still at least a dozen Catholics there still praying.
Throughout the evening, we had teams of people circling the block praying the Rosary and other prayers of deliverance. It was hilarious although profound to see…kind of like Joshua and the walls of Jericho. There was one guy who was also circling the block and sprinkling holy salt every time he passed the Koven. When was the last time a Catholic used holy salt that you can remember? Nevermind, don’t answer that question. I had never experienced anything like this, and I had experienced an overwhelming sense of pride in my fellow
Sprinkling some sacred salt.
Catholic brothers and sisters in their willingness to show up and fight for Our Lord and his Church. Check out this short video of us praying. Also, shout out to my parish, St. Maurice parish, where over 100 people showed up last night to pray in adoration for the outrages perpetrated against God.
Around 11PM or so, and for some inexplicable reason, I was approached by the owner of the Koven, Mehdi Galehdar, as well as Nicholas Marc, the Satanic Temple’s “co-ordinator” and presider over the Black “Mass”. The owner of the Koven just came up to me as I was saying the Rosary and we just started talking. He said he had no problem with us and that what they were doing was all about religious freedom. He said he respected our Faith, but that religious freedom and secularism were the most important things to maintain. Where he was from (Iran), they persecuted religious minorities and killed Gays. I listened patiently to him as he explained the intolerance shown in the society he lived in, and I prayed fervently that the Holy Spirit might use the prayers of my fellow Catholics so I could say something to connect with him. I did not address the Black “Mass” with him, because I perceived that this was a side issue. Instead, I told him how the Catholic Faith is about Jesus’s sacrifice for love of us and upholding the dignity of every human person, but that religious freedom cannot be an end in itself. I explained that just because he had a bad experience with Islam doesn’t mean that religiously-based society is necessarily evil. It just means that he had not been exposed to true religion. At that point, and to my amazement, he called over a gentleman who introduced himself as Nicholas Marc. I realized then that I was talking to the national co-ordinator of the Satanic Temple in Canada and the “presider” over the evening’s festivities.
Nicholas related a bit of his background to me. He had grown up in a traditional Catholic household and were Tridentine Catholics. At first, I did not catch on, but then realized what we meant by the word Tridentine…Latin Mass goers. Something had happened and he had been “abused”. I did not pry into the details of what this abuse entailed. He seemed generally confused about some elements of the Catholic faith, referring, for instance, to the Council in the 1500s as the first ecumenical council. He went on to give me a long list of the good deeds that his organization does. He said that his organization does not believe in God and treats the devil as merely a symbol, a metaphor. He admitted to me that he became somewhat enamoured with the Lucifer because he was on the outside; a rebel and he identified with that. As he was relating to me all these things, I was praying for the right words to say. He went on to explain to me the development of the imagery of the devil in the Catholic Church. At that point, I jumped in and responded that that might be true, but it does not take away from the revealed truth about his existence which has always be held by the Church. I then took the opportunity to challenge him on his world view by going back to “the beginning”. I thought I would start with death and suffering and asked him if he thought those were evil things. Maybe he did not want to go down that road because his response shocked me. He said those things were not evil. I then pivoted and asked him to what he means by “good” and where such goodness comes from and who gets to decide what is good and what is evil. Again, no coherent answer was forthcoming. He went on to explain that they were doing no harm, but I stopped him and challenged him on why he was blaspheming God’s name. His response was he was not doing it publicly but in a closed venue. “But it is a public act as you have announced it, and are doing it tonight. That’s why we are here.” He then went on to distinguish his brand of Satanism from the other more violent kind. I reminded him that he is still invoking the devil who is real and this only harms him and his hearers. I pleaded with him, “we have no ill will towards you or anyone here who we genuinely care about, but we have a big problem with what you are committing.” I reminded him that he is still baptized and that this evening our presence here is stirring the sacramental graces within him. He responded that they perform an unbaptism ritual. I corrected him that his actions have no effect as one cannot unbaptize someone since it is permanent. Of course, he rejected this truth. I reminded him that Christ is about love and sacrifice while any kind of Satanism opposes this. At this point, Nicholas said he had to go and so he left to perform another ritual of some kind inside.
The sad reality is that this kind of Black “Mass” display is, in many ways, somewhat anti-climatic. Our culture is essentially already living satanic lies. It’s not like Nicholas is announcing something that does not already exist in our culture. The supremacy of human will and complete license (masquerading as freedom), and an atheistic mindset already dominate our public discourse and institutions. Nicholas’s Black “Mass” represents the liturgical rubrics of a reality that we have lived for a long time now. In many respects, it’s old news. If there is an explosion of these Satanic Temples, it’s only because the playing field has already been finely manicured for its reception.
One last thing to recount before I conclude my report. There was a group of Quebec and Ottawa Catholics belonging to the SSPX who were also praying in Latin and circling the block. When they would come by, the Koven doorman would utter something in Latin as well like “non serviam” – a reference, of course, to the devil’s cry that he would not serve God. Anyhow, during one of their passes around the Koven, a woman from their group took my hand and rubbed holy oil on my index finger. Later on in the evening, I happened to see Nicholas and approached him. I wished him a good night, said I would pray for him, and put my hand on his shoulder. As I was driving home, for some reason that image of my putting my hand on his shoulder came to my mind and then I remembered it was the same hand and index finger with the holy oil.
It is my personal conviction that this event was the devil’s attempt at scuttling the upcoming Rosary Bowl which is scheduled for this Thursday, August 22 @ Lansdowne Park. Let our participation in this momentus event, which is the beginning of our country’s restoration to Christ, be a response on what was attempted this past Saturday. Believe it! Our Lady is moving in a dramatic way in our country, and we need to keep the momentum going. See you there, brothers and sisters! Praise be Jesus Christ and His Most Holy Mother!
John Pacheco August, 18, 2019 Ottawa, Canada