Man Interrupts Student Mass

Disturbs Evening Ceremony for 300 at Catholic Church

An unidentified man interrupted a 5 p.m. student mass at St. Paul's Catholic Church on Sunday, shouting out in disagreement with a priest who was delivering the evening sermon to a crowd of 300, most of whom were Harvard students.

Noreen C. McDonald '95 and Crimson editor Liam T.A. Ford '91-'92 said that the man was quickly escorted out of the church and the priest, Father Brian Daley S.J., continued with the sermon.

The outburst was apparently prompted by Daley's discussion of the Christian tradition of sacrifice.

According to one witness, the outburst occurred after Daley described two sacrifices preceding the crucifixion of Christ. The man then stood up and yelled, "This man is lying to you. There was only one sacrifice and that was the sacrifice of Jesus Christ."

"He seemed to be somewhat deranged. Once I said sacrifice a few times it must have pushed a button or something," Daley said.


The man then told participants that if they continued to listen to Daley they would all "go to hell," according to Father Richard Malone, who was assisting with the mass.

Both Malone and Ford said that the man, who was seated about five rows from the pulpit, is homeless and that he frequents the streets of Harvard Square.

"He was wearing a large backpack, worn fatigues, had rough skin and his hair didn't look completely washed," Ford said yesterday. "I assumed he was homeless."

Ford said the man continued to scold congregants until he was removed by Ford and Ralston Haynes, a former non-resident tutor at Adams House.

According to Malone, the sermon intended to assert that the crucifixion was the ultimate sacrifice to God.

"I think the man reacted based on the misunderstanding that Father Daley was holding up these pre-crucifixion examples as the ultimate sacrifices," Malone said.

Malone quickly dismissed the possibility that the man held a personal vendetta against the church, its participants or Daley.

Daley said he later asked parishioners to "pray for the man and ask that Christ brings him peace."

Asked if St. Paul's would take any action or precautions to prevent future incidents, Daley responded, "No, not at all."

"Sometimes a few homeless people may come into the church and participate in the mass," Ford said. "Some talk to themselves and others participate peacefully. As long as they don't disturb the mass we're glad to have them come in."

Daley said that the location of St. Paul's Catholic Church in Harvard Square hasexposed it to interruptions and outbursts in thepast.

"There are a lot of institutionalized people inhalf-way houses around here," Daley said.

"There really isn't much you can do except toquietly escort people out if they start disturbingthe ceremoney, which the two students didcommendably," he said