Drea concluded his remarks by telling the crowd, “as we depart from this church into the light of Harvard Square...may we be reminded of our call to bring the presence of the living God into the world…. That’s the call of veritas.”
Those who attended the service spoke highly of its ability to bring together people of different beliefs and from across the area.
“I was just amazed at how many people even within and outside the Harvard community came together to just like acknowledge and celebrate the beauty of what Catholics hold very dear,” Chisom M. Okpala ’15 said.
Fr. Felipe Gonzalez from Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross said he was “amazed” by the number of people who attended the service. Rebecca E. Tweedie ’14 said that she had “never seen [the church] so full.”
“It was the response we were hoping for,” Gonzalez added. “This is the sense of the community that we all are waiting for.”
Back across the Yard, dozens of protesters gathered outside Memorial Hall offered more direct protestation of the the planned satanic mass.
“We’re just delighted to learn that, first of all, [the event] was taken off of campus, and, second of all, that it was cancelled altogether,” said C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts. “This had no redeeming social value, it had no intrinsic educational value, this was not a cultural event: this was an exercise in hatred, bigotry, desecration, and denigration.”
—Staff writer Alexander H. Patel contributed to the reporting of this article.
—Staff writer Noah J. Delwiche can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ndelwiche.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: May 13, 2014
An earlier version of this article incorrectly quoted Catholic Students Association President Todd E. Jones ’16 in talking about the value of the planned satanic mass. Jones said that “This [satanic mass] has no positive cultural substance.”