Bagpipes, cymbals, and Marian hymns: Catholics make reparation outside ‘SatanCon’ in Boston

SatanCon More than 120 members of the The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property held a prayer rally outside SatanCon on Friday, April 28, in Boston, Massachusetts. | Joe Bukuras/CNA

More than 100 Catholics came from across the nation Friday to pray for reparation outside of the Marriott Copley Place in Boston in response to The Satanic Temple’s annual conference being held there this weekend.

“SatanCon,” as The Satanic Temple calls the event, is apparently sold out and is being held from Friday to Sunday, April 28–30, to celebrate the organization’s history and values.

One video from inside the event showed someone on a stage tearing pages out of a Bible and ripping apart a “Thin Blue Line” flag, which is often flown in support of law enforcement.

The Satanic Temple, which, according to its website, denies the existence of God and Satan, is a political activist group known for protesting religious symbolism in public spaces and mocking Christianity by offering “unbaptism” and hosting “black masses.”

One group of Catholics who attended the prayer rally was The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP). Some of the group prayed the rosary across the street from the Marriott and played bagpipes, drums, and cymbals while singing Marian hymns and religious patriotic songs such as “Hail Holy Queen” and “America, the Beautiful.”

One man from the group held up a sign to drivers passing by that said “Honk against Satan.” He got honked at several times.

Another group who was also part of the TFP consisted largely of young men, some high-school age, who were dressed in red sashes, suits, and ties and sang hymns. 

The TFP describes itself as a lay Catholic movement “concerned about the moral crisis shaking the remnants of Christian civilization” and claims to have more than 120,000 active members around the world, although it is based in Pennsylvania. 

John Ritchie, who is a youth coordinator for the group, told CNA Friday that tradition, family, and property are the “pillar values” of a Christian civilization. 

“Today we are praying for our nation, making reparation to God for the sin of public blasphemy and satanism,” Ritchie said. The bagpipes and the drums are “marvelous music” that “attracts attention and lifts the spirit,” Ritchie added.

TFP often does prayer rallies at different locations across the nation. 

Michael Drake, a public relations employee with TFP, also told CNA Friday that the group shows up to school campuses.

“They have workshops for after-school Satan clubs. They’re reaching out to schools across the country. It’s a part of a movement. It’s been growing by leaps and bounds in the past years. It needs to be opposed and it needs to be explained to people why it’s wrong,” he said.

Drake was referring to an initiative by The Satanic Temple to institute an “After School Satan Club” in public schools across the country. The group has succeeded in instituting the club in some schools, such as B.M. Williams Primary School in Chesapeake, Virginia, serving pre-K to second grade, according to

TFP wasn’t the only Catholic group that attended the prayer rally. 

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Donna Farrell-Pelissier, 62, and her husband, Paul Pelissier, 62, attended and are a part of a group called Catholic Cross Bearers, which is a Catholic motorcycle ministry meant to introduce people to Christ.

The couple told CNA that they were also there praying to make reparation for the sins of those at SatanCon.

Donna Farrell-Pelissier and her husband, Paul Pelissier, attended SatanCon April 28, 2023, in Boston to make reparation. Credit: Joe Bukuras/CNA
Donna Farrell-Pelissier and her husband, Paul Pelissier, attended SatanCon April 28, 2023, in Boston to make reparation. Credit: Joe Bukuras/CNA

“Attending SatanCon can be very dangerous, especially for the young who are very impressionable. We need to bring them to God,” Farrell-Pelissier said.

There was also a truck circling the streets in front of the convention that said “No After School Satan Clubs.” The truck had the name Christian Action Network on it.

The Archdiocese of Boston has responded to The Satanic Temple’s SatanCon event with scheduled eucharistic adoration, Catholic devotions, and “intense prayer” in local parishes.

“At the direction of the cardinal [Sean O’Malley], we are approaching it through a response balanced and focused on prayer,” archdiocesan spokesman Terrence Donilon told CNA April 17.

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