This past weekend, “SatanCon”—the first-ever satanic convention—was held at the Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona. In response, about 300 Catholics gathered in front of the hotel to publicly pray. The number made me think of the 300 men from the Book of Judges (7:5-7) who defeated 15,000 Midianites. The fact that we were 300 Catholics was not a coincidence; it was a God incidence.
We saturated the atmosphere with “the sweet aroma of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15) for three days straight. Our group intentionally united our prayers from noon to 3 p.m. (the hours Our Lord was redeeming the world on Calvary). Two Catholic priests joined us in offering prayers of supplication and petition. We prayed all the mysteries of the holy Rosary; the Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel; the Chaplet of the Holy Face of Jesus; the Chaplet of Divine Mercy; and beautiful litanies to Our Lady, St. Joseph, the blood of Jesus, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Between prayers, we sang Latin hymns.
Hundreds of people attended the satanic convention, including satanists, witches, atheists, and secular humanists. I felt like St. Paul walking into Ephesus (Acts 19:29): “the city was filled with much confusion.” I also could identify with St. Paul as he walked into Athens: “while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols” (Acts 17:16).
Our goals were threefold: 1) To offer God prayers of reparation for the evil lectures and evil actions of the satanists inside the ballroom; 2) to offer God prayers for the satanists to receive the grace of conversion and salvation; and 3) to offer God prayers of protection for the city of Scottsdale.
The Bible says love your enemies and pray for those who curse you (cf. Matthew 5:44). “To love is to will the good of another” (CCC 1766). What do we will for the satanist? Nothing less than the salvation of their souls, which in the Church is always the supreme law (cf. Canon 1752). I reminded my Catholic brothers and sisters: “keep your eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2), we are here for one reason, to pray for the salvation of their souls. We desired to make our Church shine by conducting ourselves as faithful sons and daughters of the Church as we stepped into the breach as Catholics in the public square.
We accomplished our goals through this peaceful prayer rally, as all the attendees publicly demonstrated the virtues of faith, hope, and charity. This verse from the book of Acts (18:9-10) gave me the courage I needed to stay the course for those three days: “Do not be afraid, speak out, and refuse to be silenced; I am with thee, and none shall come to do thee harm; I have a great following in this city.”
We processed from the Scottsdale Civic Center parking lot with four men in suits bearing a statue of Our Lady of Fatima on a platform, looking like a modern-day Ark of the Covenant procession. Many Catholics processed with images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a large crucifix.
Our prayers of petition and supplication had a calming effect on those around us, even the satanists. Most of the people that passed in their cars gave us the thumbs up sign or waved and honked their horns in approval. The Scottsdale Police Department was very accommodating to us and very protective of us. My wife and I had established a relationship with them over the last two months; they were very appreciative of our work.
There were also Protestants praying outside the hotel. Some even joined us in prayer and stood with us. Other Protestants elected to pray farther away from us in order to give us both the space to pray in our own manner. Two Protestant pastors complimented us for our organization, our discipline, our physical and spiritual order, and our peaceful witness. They conveyed to us that they were very saddened that Protestant denominations in Scottsdale and the surrounding cities could not organize to pray on this critical weekend.
Many of the Catholic faithful who joined us expressed that this was an incredible spiritual experience, like an intense retreat. I spent two separate occasions talking to and evangelizing two different satanists, and I also shared the faith with two ecumenically-minded Protestant pastors who were asking me questions about Catholicism. I also spoke to four atheists about what Catholics believe. Lastly, I shared the faith with four Scottsdale policemen who were, by their own admission, lukewarm Catholics.
As I was driving home on Sunday, the last day of the prayer rally, I received a call from a friend of mine, Kyle Clement, the case manager and facilitator for the exorcist Fr. Chad Ripperger. He told me that Fr. Ripperger had offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the protection of the Catholics in Scottsdale who were at the prayer rally and in reparation for the evil occurring at the satanic conference. That was a great consolation to my wife and me.
I firmly believe the reason our rally was so successful is because there were thousands and thousands of lay Catholics, priests, and nuns from all over the country—including 21 cloistered orders—praying for us. In our own diocese, our bishop recommended that Catholics pray inside every Catholic Church for the protection of Scottsdale—prayers of reparation and prayers for the conversion of the satanists. The prayer rally was life changing for all those who participated. It was a moving and powerful experience and a weekend of incredible grace that they will never forget.
Members of the Scottsdale Police Department conveyed to me that when the satanists were leaving the hotel on Sunday they appeared to be arguing with each other, having heated debates with each other as they entered their cars and left the hotel. The police told me the satanists were not happy, they were not smiling. They were frowning and visibly upset and distressed.
I believe with complete certainty that this was the result of our prayers. Catholic prayers projected into the cosmos will disrupt, block, and impede satanic curses, hexes, and incantations. I have no doubt that at their conference curses and hexes were undermined and impaired by the power of Catholic prayer. They felt a small demonstration of the power of God, who loves them and sent His only Son to die for them.
Only in eternity will we know how our prayers bore fruit. But I am confident in the words of the Lord to the prophet Isaiah: “So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me empty, but shall do what pleases me, achieving the end for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
In closing, I would like to thank the following people and apostolates for physically joining us in sanctifying the public square: America Needs Fatima; Michael Hichborn (Lepanto Institute); Joe Gallagher & Trey Brock (Church Militant); Anthony Acosta (VMPR); Scott Goley (Catholic Resiliency); Jesse Waltz (LifeSiteNews); Donald Nohs (Promotor of the Holy Face Devotion); and Paul Zucarelli (Author, Faith Understood).
[Photo Credit: Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute]