What if…


I am bumping this back to the top.

I was just watching some news coverage of the fires burning in California.

A woman interviewed, said they were given 5 minutes warning before being evacuated.

She said: "I have no more pictures of my son as a baby any more.  They’re just memories now."

Several people who live… or lived… in that area have written to say that this entry was actually somewhat useful to them.

Lord, what a horrible and wonderful thought.

Back to the original entry.


I am looking around at my things.

I have literally thousands of books. 

I have various amazing ecclesiastical objet


Small souveniers.  

CDs.  DVDs.  

Lots of electronic stuff. 


If you had to leave where you are in, say, 12 hours, what would you take?  [Make it a few minutes…]


What would you take? 

12 hours… [Make it a few minutes…]

You  can take only what you can carry.

They are coming for you. 

Block by block. 

I.D. checks. 

Are you Catholic?

Think about weather… transport… distances…  … … …. hostility.

What would you take?

You might be very pious in this moment.  But…

On your way out the gaping door… do you grab something?  A photo?  A nicknak?

Your … baseball bat? 

Your… volume of Shakespeare’s Sonnets?

You have seen films of carts with lamps, and chairs.

Clarify your thinking.




About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Fr. Paul McDonald says:

    Something v. rare and important… Hmmm…
    Yes, Les oeuvres de Cardinal Pie de Poitier would be one thing, anyway.

    Viva Cristo Rey !

  2. Tadhg Seamus says:

    Two things only: my rosary (it was my father’s, and the crucifix opens to reveal a tiny relic of the True Cross) and a small relic of the Little Flower in a locket that could be hung on a little chain around one’s neck.

  3. Papabile says:

    My four children, and wife, three rifles and pistol, ammunition, water, food….

    … and… my Douay-Rheims pocket bible, and my missal.

    I would take those things in THAT order.

    I can count the rosary on my fingers.

  4. Lurker #59 says:

    I assume here we are talking about pure religious persecution and this is a “to the hills”.

    You take what you need to rebuild. You take only what can be carried. You use part of your 12 hours to hide stuff that you can come back for, or somebody else could get.

    **Load as much of your electronic documents onto a 4MB flash drive that has an OS installed on it so you can boot from a public computer without storing data on that computer. Your hard drive must then be physically destroyed. The best way is to stick the HD in the microwave and let the electric arcs destroy the magnetic surface. Also be sure to destroy all address books that are posted on the Internet.

    Stuff for rebuilding the faith.
    1. The Christian Faith in the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church, Dupuis
    2. Church history book.
    3. My small crucifix.
    4. book on philosophy
    5. Pocket Ref by Thomas J. Glover (depends on what exactly is happening – it is not needed if society is still going to be around and we are not going to hide in the hills for a really long time).
    6. Small Lauds and Vespers prayer book for myself.

    Monetary Goods.
    Depends on what is happening.
    1. Get as much money in cash as possible.
    2.Load up on trade goods (salt, spices, small but useful parts and tools (hardened nails hammer etc))

    Take only what is durable and has a tight weave. Don’t take much, take what can be abused and washed over and over.

    Take part of the 12 hours to make rather dense bread that wont spoil.
    Anything that has seeds, take the seeds. Take a potato or two and an onion for growing.
    Bag of rice (small)
    Bag of potato flakes. (small)
    Jar of butternut (protein)

    *Some heavy rope.
    *Knives (pocket and hunting)
    *Canteen and mess kit.
    *Pens and Paper

    Whatever else can be crammed in of utility.

    Load everything in and on to a framed backpack with light tent.

    Make plans on where to meet with the others that are running.

    Basicaly I want to be carrying what I could do a good jog or brisk walk with.

    Head for the hills!

  5. Lurker #59 says:

    that was supposed to be peanut butter….how does spell check switch it to butternut????

  6. John Fernandez says:

    My faith.

  7. Speaking as a musician, I’d take with me the Graduale Romanum…..and the Bach B Minor Mass, the greatest piece ever written.

  8. berenike says:

    The thing about the carts with lamps and so on is that folk used to have a lot less stuff. It would all fit onto a cart.

  9. Felix says:

    A bible and the Summa Theologica. And a rosary. And Dr Ott’s “Catholic Dogma”.

    Legal documents – my birth certificate and passport.

    A few practicalities – a torch, some soap, toilet paper, and my waterproof jacket.

  10. Brian says:

    I wonder what would bring this to mind? It’s always near the front of mind, but I thought I was the only “paranoid” one.

    I have a “bugout bag” which contains the physical necessities of life in the woods. Food for a couple of days, water for 72 hours (South East TN has plenty of water), cook gear, tarp, space blanket, cutting tools, rope, money (different kinds), copies of documents, maps, and a compact .22 rifle with ammo (AR-5 survival rifle). It’s all in a hiking backpack. On top of that, I would add some books. Bible, Missal, Breviary, I don’t know what else. I guess it depends on the situation.

    If I wasn’t coming back, I would bring my 1 volume Lord of the Rings and the Catechism. My computer stuff? Thermite it. It would be of no use to me in the hills and would likely be gone or in the wrong hands when I got back.

    The remainder of the time would be for burying things (which should really already be done away from the house) and getting out of town.

  11. Brian says:

    I wonder what would bring this to mind? It’s always near the front of mind, but I thought I was the only “paranoid” one.

    I have a “bugout bag” which contains the physical necessities of life in the woods. Food for a couple of days, water for 72 hours (South East TN has plenty of water), cook gear, tarp, space blanket, cutting tools, rope, money (different kinds), copies of documents, maps, and a compact .22 rifle with ammo (AR-7 survival rifle). It’s all in a hiking backpack. On top of that, I would add some books. Bible, Missal, Breviary, I don’t know what else. I guess it depends on the situation.

    If I wasn’t coming back, I would bring my 1 volume Lord of the Rings and the Catechism. My computer stuff? Thermite it. It would be of no use to me in the hills and would likely be gone or in the wrong hands when I got back.

    The remainder of the time would be for burying things (which should really already be done away from the house) and getting out of town.

  12. Brian says:

    Sorry for the double post.

  13. Irulats says:

    I remember reading somewhere, that after many years in prison, St. John of the Cross burned one of his sole possessions; a letter from St. Therese that he had managed to bring with him. His reason: he was becoming too attached to it.

  14. Sid Cundiff says:

    I assume you mean an situation of flee or be fed to the lions – not an unlikely one in parts of the world, and maybe someday in the USA. I’d take 2nd my Breviary and 1st my small Ignatius Press Bible.

  15. Matthew Kennel says:

    My backpack, clothing, the best knife I could find, my medicine, and my tiny copy of the Imitation of Christ.

  16. Jim says:

    I assume the object is to survive physically. If so, in the following order: (1) trusty 22 magnum rifle and ammo, with which to bag occasional deer; (2) hunting knife; (3) leatherman tool; (4) collapsible fishing rod; (5) cash; (6) matches; (7) flashlight; (8) boy scout survival handbook; (9) change of sox and underwear; and (10) rosary.

  17. Dominican says:

    I wear a full religious habit and all my the photos on my legal documents are of me in the habit so no point in going into civvys and besides, there’s nothing like that in the monastery. So, things would be useless, including the breviary.

    I’d double my habit clothing on me, take my legal documents, put as many hosts from the tabernacle in a pyx and hide it on myself… and wait. I wouldn’t bother about money.

  18. RichR says:

    Fr Z.,

    Do you know something we dont?


  19. Rouxfus says:

    Been there, sort of, twice. We evacuated from our home in New Orleans for Hurricane Ivan in 2004, which was a helpful dress rehearsal for our evacuation before Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In both cases we packed the car with just a few day’s worth of clothes, computers (which have most of our photo collection stored), camera, iPod, Garmin hand-held GPS, food, water, three-D cell MagLite flashlight, which can serve as a club, several prized books, including James Cardinal Gibbons’ “The Faith of Our Fathers”, and children’s books, games, and DVDs to entertain the two kids on the drive and afterwards.

    Having Katrina turned what we thought might be a few day’s evacuation to a several-month sojourn in Texas has altered our evacuation check list a bit. I now own two WWII rifles (M1 Garand and Carbine), where before Katrina I didn’t own a firearm, and they would certainly accompany us. My Katrina (which means, from the Greek word ‘catharsis’ – renewal, cleansing, purification) experience has contributed to a renewal of my faith. So, now I would include my D-R Bible (with Cardinal Gibbons’ imprimatur), Rosary beads, Baronius 1962 Roman Missal, and a crucifix.

  20. Fr Fryar says:

    I’d take my chalice.

  21. Romulus says:

    What would I bring? Here’s my post of August 30, 2005 (the day after Katrina) checking in with friends at an on line forum:

    “Thanks from the bottom of my heart for your prayers and concern. I am safe, as are all my family. We all evacuated Sunday. I brought icons, a gun, family pictures, my cat and dog, and the clothes on my back. Not much more. I expect my home and office to be flooded, as of this morning, and don’t know when I’ll be allowed to return.

    “I have been inconvenienced, to say the least, but am not suffering like many innocents who’re in the midst of it now. Please remember them in your prayers.

    “I am grateful to all of you. Please forgive me if I’ve overlooked anyone.”

    Only thing different is, next time I’d take more clothes. Plus my wife of course, whom I met as a result of the storm (by God’s grace and the busy assistance of the Archangel Raphael) including her wedding wing, whose diamonds — family heirlooms — rode out the storm in a jeweler’s safe under 28 feet of the Gulf of Mexico.

  22. Janet says:

    If my two sons agreed to come with me I’d head for the most rural place that still has a priest to say Mass. I’d take camping gear, food, hunting rifle, spare clothing, Bible, breviary, rosary, and St. Benedict’s crucifix. Maybe one or two other books.
    If alone, I’d not try to leave town since survival chances would be minimal. Instead I’d park myself in my parish’s adoration chapel and wait….

  23. Elizabeth V says:

    I assume “My kids” is not the sort of answer you’re after? OK, then, if you’re interested in just stuff, I’d take both of my kids’ baby books. I’d also take diapers, medications, water and whatever food was not perishable. We have lots and lots of cheerios, for example. I guess I should take the sunblock and bug repellent. I’d take a camera to document whatever terrible thing was happening.

    In other words, I’d take everything I usually take whenever I leave the house! ;-) (Well, except the baby books…and thank you for reminding me I need to catch up! I quit my 4 year old’s book when she was 1 and my 14 months old’s book only goes until about his first 5 months.)

    I am afraid to hit the submit button because I just know that as soon as I click it, I’ll think of a few other things I didn’t think of already.

  24. o.h. says:

    Easy. Take as much cash as I could, my passport, and my Spanish phrase book. Drive to the border (not too far), where they’re always happy to take U.S. money (ID checks, phooey; the border is always open, if you know what I mean); get a flight to a country not doing the persecution thing. No rosary, no breviary, nothing that could identify me as a Catholic. They’re just things, and while I wouldn’t deny my faith, I wouldn’t volunteer for martyrdom, either, not while I have a family.

    Leave the children with beloved but not-Christian husband, who would sue for divorce (as prearranged) for abandonment and child abuse (i.e. having had the children baptized & catechized), thus keeping them safe–they would follow as soon as feasible.

    The whole grab-the-guns and head for the hills thing really is a no-go for us; we’d stand the same chance as a couple of domesticated basset hounds trying to learn to run with the dingoes. If it comes to the complete collapse of civilization, we’d just park ourselves on the Ikea couch, open up some Bluebell, and watch the whole thing on CNN.

  25. Henry Edwards says:

    Not my treasured copy of Lewis & Short, that’s for sure. Why? Anyone who has a copy knows why. (“You can take only what you can carry.“)

  26. S says:

    That is exactly what I was thinking! Head to the Adoration chapel and pray for guidance for one hour of that 12! I tend to panic, so I cannot even think of what to take, even after reading all those sensible posts. Having read some accounts of those who survived terrible persecution, it seems to me that what you need the most is already inside of you…or not.

  27. danphunter1 says:

    My Wife and my 1962 Missal. My 30-30 Winchester and ammo and my wife tells me I have to take the cat,Jack.
    And of course our Rosary Beads and our Divine Office.
    God Almighty will take care of the rest.
    Have you had a vision, Father?
    God bless you.

  28. Wow! You’ve really got me thinking.
    Suddenly I am wishing I had all my theology and liturgical books in electronic format and a laptop.
    Well, I have 12 hours so maybe I’ll post something later.

  29. Josiah says:

    Hmm well, I’d take my two cats, and then:
    My breviaries
    My grandmother’s St. Joseph missal
    Jurgen’s “Faith of the early father’s” and my catechism.
    My copies of liturgical documents/ canon law.
    A Large blanket and a pillow
    My warmest coats and longjohns, and finally some paper and a pencil.

  30. Franklin Jennings says:

    My wife, missal, rifle and gun, and both “bug-out bags”.

    With the bags, I have digital copies of needed documents, a little ammo, food, and water, GPS and the coordinates for caches previously buried in multiple locations.

    Sometimes being crazy comes in handy. ;-)

  31. JaneC says:

    Presuming that this could be a travel or run-for-the-hills scenario, I would take: water, bread (I have a recipe for hardtack–stuff is nasty, but lasts forever), peanut butter, small bottle of brandy (what? alcohol has more than one use), knife, rope, pot, large spoon (could be used for digging as well as eating), flint and steel, tarp, soap, towel, bandages, change of clothes, roll of duct tape, book on edible plants, and my Liber Usualis if there’s room for it. Coffee and chocolate for trading, or cash depending on what’s happening. I’m pretty sure I’d be able to jog with that on my back.

    I don’t think I’d survive well in the wilderness, but then again, it seems that no one knows whether they’re capable of this sort of thing until they’re actually tested.

  32. Geoffrey says:

    First I would grab my laptop (it has just about EVERYTHING I would need on it… my portable hardrive that I use to back-up the whole thing… my 50-year old family Bible… my rosary could fit easily in my pocket… my missals (both ordinary and extraordinary)… my ipod… my current breviary for the LOTH (and if I think I will be gone for quite a while, all of them)… my cat… old family pictures… I’d have to sacrifice TONS of books…

    If I had to down-size? Laptop & family bible.

    I suddenly have the urge to begin scanning ALL my old family photos, as well as download some books and texts onto my laptop! :-/

  33. Angelo says:

    To insure the perpetuity of episcopal consecrations and
    priestly ordinations, I suggest that the Liturgical books
    (extraordinary) be assigned to a responsible priest of the diocese so that
    that when the time does come, Catholics will be able to avail
    themselves of Confession & Holy Communion. I am sure that
    there will be many martyrs among the bishops & priests.
    And there will be a pressing need to replenish their ranks.

  34. J. Wong says:

    I’ take in this order:
    – photo of my parents
    – Fulton Sheen Sunday Missal
    – small wood chest with various first class relics
    – passport, ID, insurance papers.

  35. woodyjones says:

    “Les oeuvres de Cardinal Pie de Poitier”. Father MacDonald, would you or someone else please do a translation of this work for us. I keep hearing about Cardinal Pie and seeing little snippets of his writings but would really like more.

  36. Andy Lucy says:

    “My wife, missal, rifle and gun, and both “bug-out bags”.

    With the bags, I have digital copies of needed documents, a little ammo, food, and water, GPS and the coordinates for caches previously buried in multiple locations.

    Sometimes being crazy comes in handy. ;-)”

    Franklin Jennings, you are a prepper after my own heart! Hooah!

    My family keeps bug out bags ready, one for each of us, even the 4 year old. And if the worst were to come about, there are INCH bags… “I’m Never Coming Home” bags. We can be out the door and gone in 5 minutes or less. We keep missals and Bibles in the packs. We always have our rosaries on us. Weapons are on the gunrack by the door.

    Keep in mind the necessities of survival. Shelter. Fire. Food. Water. Learn skills now, practice them, become proficient. Can you make a fire with no matches? Having watched Survivorman or Bear Grylls do it on TV is not the same as being cold, wet and hungry and having to get a fire started yourself.

    Take the time now, right now, to think and plan and prepare. When the time comes, you might not have 12 hours to get ready. What will you do? Preparedness is a way of life, one that has been all but forgotten in the last 50 years.

    Pray as though all depends on God… prepare as though all depends on you.

  37. Royce says:

    I would definitely bring my cross which was blessed by JPII and the rosary blessed by Benedict, both gifts of a very dear priest.

  38. leo says:

    altar cards blow up big six and a rochet that contains only enough linen to hold it together

  39. Jean-Luc DeLacroix says:

    “Take nothing for your journey, neither staff, nor wallet, nor bread, nor money; neither have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and do not leave the place. And whoever does not receive you–go forth from that town, and shake off even the dust from your feet for a witness against them.”

    Luke 9:3-5


  40. Tim Ferguson says:

    I’m a fat man with athsma and I can’t run fast. I’m also a city boy without a lot of experience camping or hunting. I’ll stay behind and try to delay the troops from chasing after y’all as long as I can. Pray for me.

  41. mary martha says:

    Through a set of complicated circumstances I once lost basically everything that I owned. I learned lots of important lessons from that experience. First – most things can be replaced – they are just things.

    What I missed most were the irreplaceable parts of personal history. When given an opportunity to retrieve a couple things I grabbed a box of family heritage photographs, some negatives, my grandfathers camera and some jewelry that I had inherited.

    Other than that – books can be replaced, you can always get more clothes and no matter how much we love out possessions… they are not important – it would be a mistake to let possessions determine our choices.

    In a situation like the one you laid out… My first step would be to make certain that my family (primarily my elderly mother)is taken care of. As to what I would take with me – I would of course take those family heritage photos, my bits of family jewelry, my guns and ammo, some sturdy clothing, 1962 missal, Bible, external Hard Drive backup and a some foodstuffs. With 12 hours I think I would spend 2 hours preparing, 2 hours packing, 2 hours hiding valuables and then 6 hours getting a head start out.

    Luckily, my sister has a cabin out in the woods that is the established place for the family to meet up. It is a place where we *could* live off the grid.

  42. Brian, the Lurker and Rouxfus have the right idea, so I’m saved the trouble of repeating any of that.

    I would already have an emergency pack with survival provisions for 72 hours. A folding hand cart (which could be ditched if necessary) could carry a number of less essential items, including a tent that could hold several of us. These things don’t happen all at once, so I would have already networked with at least two priests, a group of veteran Scouts, at least one ham radio operator, and several homeschooling families (who tend to be the best human resources for this sort of thing). A few old trucks or vans with enough gas to take us to the Blue Ridge, where a hideout is already secured up in the woods. The vans could each serve as the base for shelters. I’d probably take a heavy-duty laptop with wireless capability, or a notepad PC at least, with the prospect of reserve power. It would depend on the circumstances, and whatever the ham operator cooks up.

    Oh, and my portable traveling guitar, with extra strings.

  43. Wm. Christopher Hoag says:

    What would I take?


    My Bible and Breviary…

    A bottle of Jameson and a six-pack of Great Lakes Brewery Holy Moses…

    My copy of Chesterton’s “Orthodoxy” and Augustine’s “Confessions”…

    And a pack of Marlboro Ultra Light 100s and a Zippo…

    …Oh, yeah…and my wife. ;-)

  44. fr william says:

    The way I read Fr Z’s question was not so much about what you need to survive (though thanks for the tips, guys, I’m definitely keeping a copy of this page!) as what do you really value – value so much that you’re prepared to be weighed down with them as you flee or are taken off to the concentration camp? I’m sure there are gaps in this list, but these come immediately to mind:
    The means of practising my faith and orders: wine, bread, water, small missal, holy oils, pastoral rites, pocket Bible, pocket Morning & Evening Prayer (full Breviary ideal but too bulky), small crucifix (even the one on a rosary will do), if at all possible small chalice & paten (though in desperate situations any receptacles will serve), Greek Testament if space & weight allow.
    Some materials for transmitting the faith: the Imitation, Introduction to the Devout Life, Mere Christianity, Compendium of the Catechism …
    Some things to keep me sane: pocket scores of the B minor Mass and St Matthew Passion, poems of Hopkins and Eliot, and (just to remind me that I’m not the first or the last to be in this situation) Greene’s The Power and the Glory.
    But no personal effects – seriously, none of them matter that much.

  45. Jacob says:

    As cool as it would be to be able to bug out on short notice. I have the whole feeding apparatus now, so I guess it would just be martyrdom unless I could find an electrical supply to run my pump out in the bush.

  46. Andy Lucy says:

    Jacob… never give up… never surrender!

    Look into battery back-ups for your pump. A small solar panel could trickle charge it, and a hand cranked radio/light could charge it when there isn’t enough sunlight for the panel to adequately charge it. That’s how I plan to operate my radio gear, and I actually do it several times a year… so it DOES work.

    Survival is about your mindset. You will die in 3 minutes with no oxygen, 3 hours with no shelter in a bad climate, 3 days with no water, and 3 weeks with no food. But you will be as good as dead in 3 seconds without a PMA… positive mental attitude. If you decide that, no matter what, you will survive… your chances increase precipitously.

    As to treasured items… all of the kids’ pics are on different jump drives. Everything else can be replaced. My wife and kids can’t. Would I miss some of the things I have? Sure. But not enough to risk my loved ones’ lives for.

    I’ll say it again. Prepare now, while you have the time to do it in peace, and without rushing. Learn and practice skills; don’t just read about how to build a brush shelter… get out and actually do it. Make all the preparations you possibly can. God will do his part, but He expects us to make the effort as well.

  47. CarpeNoctem says:

    My laptop, a well-supplied Mass kit and single-volume breviary, some cash, if possible a change or two of clothes and toiletry kit, my wallet, keys, and if necessary, a small firearm… and then run and get a 12 hour head start on whatever is coming.

  48. Paul Stokell says:

    There’s no way I can add to any of the items listed above (save one: a good Geiger counter), I can observe this thread is reading more like the opening of one of Bud Macfarlane’s zany novels, or those “three days of darkness” pamphlets which float around my parish on occasion. Still, it’s among the best I’ve seen here in a very long time!

  49. James says:

    With eleven children to care for, the usual easily stored food, water, clothing and basic necessities for such a tribe. Bible, catechism, breviary, crucifix and rosaries. All weapons, ammo and reloading equipment.

  50. Derik Castillo says:

    I guess it depends on the specific type of persecution.

    My worst scenario is that if they find me (and they will do their best),
    they will kill me, if they find my books; they will destroy them, etc.
    In this case, I would try to get money in my pockets for bribing someone
    into crossing the border, some identity documents, and a small backpack
    with one set of clothes, cheese, bread, a bottle of water and nothing
    more. I think it would be wise to leave immediately. Using a public phone
    I can ask some friends to go and retrieve everything that is important,
    and try to secure it.

    My second to worst scenario is if I am forced to leave town. Then I would
    probably try to pack identification documents, electronics, books, clothing,
    no-perishable food in my car, and leave within two hrs. Not to the hills,
    because I don’t have any idea of how to survive in the wilderness (I cannot
    hunt, for starters, and growing potatoes and onions takes months of dedicated care!)

    I believe that before the final notice arrives, it will be very evident what
    the scenario looks like. This will probably give me time to buy airtight tough
    metal containers, fill them with picture albums wrapped in plastic, jewelry,
    paint a ‘radioactive hazard’ icon and bury them in a landfill or abandoned
    mine shaft.


  51. Karen Linsmayer says:

    I don’t want to think about it.

  52. Steven Cornett says:

    Well, that got me thinking about what to leave behind, or destroy. The Hard Drives not used on the laptop, for instance, but especially my cell phone. Digital cell phones often have GPS on board, and there is a recent case where a missing woman trapped in her car was located by the police calling her cell phone and getting her location off it.

    And I hate to be paranoid, but a group going after Catholics might have a list of people to make disappear before the final notice appears. To do it, all they need is to look at the account records and see whose sending checks to Catholic charities and to their parish. Those are likely to be active members if not leaders of the parish, and they’ll be the first targets.

    But if I have the time, I’d take my Bible, breviary, my 1962 missal, and non-perishables. I have to say I haven’t thought too much of what else I’d need to do, but I’m going to start.

  53. anne scanlon says:

    my cord rosary,SAS survival guide,water purifying tablets, water proof matches, nasa blanket,swiss army knife,extra sneakers, one change of clothing,passport,cashand my agnus dei

  54. Steven Cornett says:

    I just thought of something else. I have a lot of the Solemes chant books from CMAA (Liber Cantualis, Kyriale, etc). My first thought in a surprise might be to bring them, but it might be better under those circumstances to bury them in a geo-cached location outside of a major city for later retrieval.

    Or would it be better to leave such in a location near your evacuation destination and retrieve when you think it might be safer to do so. Thoughts?

    The point is to ensure the continuity of sacred Catholic music.

  55. PI says:

    Not many fans of Solzhenytsyn or Chekhov here. Take NOTHING and you’ll lose NOTHING.

  56. Janet C. says:

    I’m learning from Andy Lucy. Thank you. I once had a situation where I thought we’d have to evacuate. I looked around at my house, FULL of things. I put on the pearls my husband gave me for our wedding. I looked around and realized, I’d just get the kids in the car and go. I felt very blessed not to be attached to any material thing. In this case, though, I’d take documents, medicine and knowledge, such as medical, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, survival of course, etc. Religion would be a primary subject to take all I could; preferably all would be on a zip drive or some such. I’d also take water, food, something for shelter and warmth. Memories provide a positive mental attitude for me. I would not go off somewhere alone with just my family, I think people need to stick together for survival, each has different things to contribute. Water, fig newtons, blankets, tent, matches and knowledge that’d do it.

  57. Liz F. says:

    I’m not sure what I would take, but I do know that my daughter and I just returned from Ethiopia. After seeing people literally starving to death it’s so hard to come back here and see all of our possessions. Even groceries are overwhelming here. If disaster did strike I think I could feed my family of ten for about four years! We just moved a fridge and a freezer and I cannot believe how much was in there that I had forgotten about. I just feel like I’m choking from all of our things and I just wonder how to get out from under it all.

  58. Franklin Jennings says:

    “To do it, all they need is to look at the account records and see whose sending checks to Catholic charities and to their parish.”

    HAHA!!! I deal in cash except my paychecks. Again, score one for the crazy man!!!

  59. michigancatholic says:

    What an odd topic. Do any of you ever think it will really come to this?

  60. Rose says:

    Reading all this raised a question in my mind: if the Vatican were to be attacked and looted, or targeted by a nuclear bomb and a state religion established in Italy that is hostile to the Catholic Church, what would happen to the Catholic patrimony-the vaults in the Vatican, the libraries, the books and records of 2000 years of Christian history? Do you think some planning has been given to this? Where would Catholic civilization and history be preserved?

  61. Geoffrey says:

    I think Rome is called “the Eternal City” because it is expected to be around until the end of the world and the Second Coming… Oremus!

  62. telcontar says:

    Breviary, rosary, knife, whetstone, tarp, rope, lighter(s), Id papers, proof of sacraments (note to self…), cash, compass. Then food, bible, catechism (either baltimore or compendium), daily missal (1950’s), road atlas, some extra clothes.

    If its persecution than I would need to get my mom (widowed) and younger siblings loaded up with non-perishible foods, campstove, tents, tools. My mom would grab some portion of our family pictures (hopefully just a few albums) and family bible.

    get about 6 hr head start, with a trip to local sporting supply to grab water purification system. Might have a small caravan (two brothers, one with a family).

    If it’s a collapse of civilization, all the above plus cut wood to fit inside the car windows, and make a run north to try to avoid Camden and Philly (400+ murders/ yr in Philly in good times hate to see if things got ugly), and make a run for Steubie.

    Either way once the family is safe, find a seminary.

  63. JustMe says:

    Apart from the family, I might take a flashlight. I always like to make sure it’s only raccoons out there, not bears. Ok, and maybe bugspray. For the bears. Right in the mouth.

    Once when we tipped the canoe into white water, in which the 4 of us including little kids got dunked in water that was still ice-rimmed, and the air not much better, we lost everything down river, and we were sopping wet. We were in the middle of nowhere (as far as we knew), so we had to take inventory of what we had, which was quick: We had God and each other. We had a hillside to burrow into if the kids’ lips turned any more blue than just then, and we’d have a morning sun rising, and a drink of water, nice and icy, if needed.

    We are indeed all vulnerable -but we always have been. Man always has been vulnerable to persecution; religion is only one thing that is acted against.

    Jean-Luc has the right idea: Take your God-kissed heart, and let the Lord orchestrate the rest. But since Jacob has written, I see that my own safe continuance would only be a pipedream, anyhow.. I’d stay with the Jacobs until they were safely resettled, or ’til we were martyred together. To me, there seems no reason to live, if it’s not for love.

  64. Sean says:

    Take nothing that would identify me as a Catholic or someone on the move, wear quickdrying/layered but innocuous leisure clothing, steal ID and adapt, melt into crowd, let sweep pass over, regroup, source some fertiliser and diesel!

  65. fr william says:

    “I just feel like I’m choking from all of our things and I just wonder how to get out from under it all.” (Liz F.) When I was ordained deacon, everything I possessed in the world, including bicycle and ‘cello, could be moved in one trip using a small car (bicycle on the roof). Now, I look around myself and think: do I own all these things, or do they own me? That’s why an exercise like this present one is so useful – “Clarify your thinking.”

    “What would happen to the Catholic patrimony … Where would Catholic civilization and history be preserved?” (Rose) Ought we all to be learning by heart one key work of our patrimony, Fahrenheit 451-style?

  66. I wouldn’t be moved anywhere against my will.

    I’m an Englishman living in England, but I have some knowledge of history.
    There is such a thing as “making a last stand”.

    Remember the Alamo.

  67. Leslie says:

    My Rosary…it would give me the Gospels and a mother to comfort me.

  68. Fr Ó Buaidhe says:

    Memory alla Fahrenheit 451? Sounds very like the advantage those who rote learned the local catechisms had years ago.

    Run to the border? If I’m not mistaken, isn’t there a plan to build a wall along the Mexican border, or was the proposal scrapped? It strikes me, that while that proposed wall might attract some anti-Hispanic support in the present, it could have other uses in the future.

    Heading for the hills doesn’t seem reasonable in the age of Google Earth.

    I’m glad I have more than twelve hours to think about this.

  69. o.h. says:

    I wouldn’t worry about a fence; head south from El Paso or the New Mexico side, where the citizenry and police are heavily Catholic. Join the crowds moving south.

    I can’t see heading for the hills as practical, either. History seems to indicate that the best chance for survival in such cases is getting into another country, pronto.

  70. Peter says:

    I am unprepared to live the “rough life” (65 and in a lot of pain), so flight to the hills and living off the land is out of the question. I will take Grace and stay. What I take to keep me in this life isn’t important anyway.

  71. Mr. Hump says:

    A cask of rum and a cheese wheel

  72. S says:

    Thank you Fr. Z for the opportunity to ‘clarfy your thinking.’ Very interesting posts on this question. My husband had the response I was looking for when I asked him. After reading all of these posts, if the day should ever come to pass, we would seek out the Domnican in his full habit with the Pyx full of hosts and Fr. Fryar with his chalice! Thank you, holy men of God!

  73. Mike says:

    You all have officially scared the hell out of me. I have thought about this kind of stuff but your plans have made this too real. Before I was married I would have made a stand. Now I have a wife and children. One is only 4 months old. I most likely would head to Texas for family and lots of space.

  74. Fr Ó Buaidhe says:

    Mike, I’m glad you said your marriage and family has changed how you would respond; I worry more about the people who carry on just as they were before…

    Isn’t it another good reason for keeping priests celibate, and for priests staying chaste – that they will not be encumbered by a complex of emotional/spiritual ties when crises come. The married must look after they children, the priests must care for their flocks.

    Shortly after my ordination I said a ‘first’ Mass on the Mass Rock where my own family worshipped during the operation of the Penal Laws. We take so much for granted.

  75. Brian says:

    “INCH bags… ”

    I’ve not heard that one. I will make good use of it.

    I’m amazed that there are others who are into preps on here. That is very good, since it offers hope that more than Fundie Protestants will survive.

  76. Fr. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R. says:

    I don’t know what I would bring. I would do whatever was necessary to save my family if I could. Being a religious priest that might not be possible as I might not be anywhere near them. I pray I would have the courage to be where God wants me to be and do what He wants me to do.

    “Things” are not important. The less I have the easier life is. God provides.

    With 12 hours warning I would make sure the Blessed Sacrament was not able to be desecrated and if possible secret away any relics and/or major items of devotion from profanation then go to the people.

  77. Edward A. Hara says:

    Interesting question. Raises a lot of philosophical questions in response.

    1. Do I run or do I accept martyrdom. I have seen both responses in the stories of the believers of the past. How would I know which course of action to take?

    2. Do I run with the intent of fighting back if cornered (reference to one of the posters mentioning the carrying of guns) or do I run but accept that if I get caught I do not resist nor take another life.

    I suppose if I choose to run, I would take the minimum necessary to support my life in the wild. Since I live in PA, that would include hunting rifles to provide meat, plus the stored foods I have in the basement, my Rosary, Bible, and some books, especially the book CHRISTIAN CONTEMPLATION AND PERFECTION, but Fr. Reginald Geragou-LeGrange. Some clothes and that’s it.

    As St. Paul said “Having therefore food and raiment, let us therewith be content.” Everything else is expendable.

    Of course, this begs the fact that if this is a really serious persecution, they will come out to the woods where I am and beat the bushes trying to flush us all out. Then what? We are back to questions 1 and 2 again.

    And someone said they really wonder if it can happen here?

    Are you kidding me? After all the babies that have been murdered on our watch while 90% of Catholics yawn and flip through the TV or vote for pro-abort politicians like they do in PA, you tell me why it won’t happen!!!!

    Brother Ed

  78. Pristinus Sapienter says:

    I am sixty, a widower and alone. Leave me a good rifle, some ammo, and I’ll man a barricade until you get away and/or they take me.

    There’s a certain ‘lock and load’ to this scenario that begs for giving others time to make distance.

    All else will have to be in God’s good hands.

    (“Whatcha think Pristinus’s doin’ now?”
    “Complainin’ ’bout the coffee . . .”)

  79. LCB says:

    The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. Viva Cristo Rey. I take my faith.

  80. michigancatholic says:

    You are right, Ed, and in your comment you have hit on what I think will really happen, if any of this comes to be. “Advances” in medicine will occur that will become very routine, although highly immoral. Laws will be passed to make those routines mandatory. Practicing catholics will first become ostracized, then persecuted over our “obstinate refusal” to do what is “best for society” in the conventional view. Many Catholics will accept these medical advances because they will not be able to see why they shouldn’t–it’s no different than what they’ve have been doing in DROVES since the late 50s.

    I’ll start the list of things that more than 1/2 of the Catholics in the US already accept without question & may practice:
    -birth control & sterilization
    -abortion, early or late
    -artificial insemination & fertility treatments
    -mercy killing (ie. letting Grandpa go “with dignity” by starving him to death or similar)
    -innoculations cultured on fetal tissue

    When it becomes possible to cure diseases such as Parkinson’s by using a dead fetus, or when it becomes possible to “order” designer children (blond, IQ=140), trust me, most people will be in line, even many Catholics.

    When it becomes possible to produce blood without blood banks (OK, it involves a human bone farm), when it becomes possible to create a clone tissue “colony” for one’s own use, do you think we will all refrain? Would you allow yourself to be blind rather than take a cornea from your clone?

    When it becomes necessary, according to the government, to identify individuals and their whereabouts to prevent crime and terrorism, and to streamline finance and prevent identity theft, do you think we will be able to find a reason why we can’t participate and get away with it?

    When it becomes expedient to “massage” demographics for financial stability, or when resources become too scarce to pay for the upkeep of the handicapped, the old, the non-productive, what do you think will happen? If we will not comply, and we offer that Catholic counterexample by refusing to kill & be killed, what do you think will happen to us?

  81. michigancatholic says:

    OK, back to the scenario. For me: no GPS, no cell phone, no blackberry or connected Palm game, no email device, no computer with an internet board in it, no Onstar or equivalent–tracking devices all.

    Prayers that whatever happens, God guides it and gives me the strength & ability to do what He’d like and what will get me to heaven. I came into this world at God’s bidding. The whole thing’s been a sheer gift, not of my own making. And I will leave the same way when He calls me.

  82. Rouxfus says:

    I have tried to clarify my thinking about this, and I find that the premise is flawed.

    The implication of this exercise is to consider what would you ‘take’ if you were given 12 hours notice that you’d be rounded up for reasons of your faith. The premise of the exercise is that we would flee. Should we behave as the disciples did and flee when Jesus is taken from the garden, or deny Him as Peter did at the High Priest’s court?

    Or do we take courage from our faith, say “Jesus I trust in thee”, stay to face whatever may befall us on account of our faith and to help others as much as possible – (c.f. St. Max Kolbe). If we are martyred for refusing to deny our faith it’s a short trip (with perhaps a pit stop in Purgatory made quicker by our martyrdom) to what should really be our ultimate objective in any case, which is eternal domicile with God in heaven. That sort of courage and steadfastness will give one an edge in dealing with whatever comes, when others are in a panic.

    I’d like to think (and will pray) that my response would be the latter.

  83. Michael Val Hietter says:


    While I admire your faith, and agree with your position about the importance of martyrdom, I sincerely believe that there needs to be SOMEONE willing to stand up and FIGHT for our faith and our loved ones. Although the tales of passive martyrdom (say, in ancient Rome) are inspiring, and that response may have been appropriate for that time, let’s also remember the many great stands against the Muslim juggernaut and other, sometimes pagan, enemies of the Church taken by gallant Christian soldiers in the last Millenium.

    I trust that all the folks here who would choose martyrdom instead of running (and/or fighting) isn’t an indication of the overall “wussification” of Catholic culture that is rampant in today’s society (yes, in some circumstances accepting martyrdom can indicate wussification–after all, most folks still refer to the 9/11 terrorists as “cowards”). In the words of the Kenny Rogers song “Coward of the County,” “Sometimes you got to fight to be a man.” And sometimes you have to fight to protect something beyond one’s personal faith.

    Michael Val Hietter

  84. Janet C. says:

    Gettin’ interesting. The first thing ANY Catholic should do is pray! Ask the Holy Spirit what you should do. You will be amazed at the answer…and it WILL come. You have to BELIEVE 100% Not 99%. Take a page from the history of the Jews in WWII. They were persecuted and executed and vowed never to let that happen again…today they have either THE or ONE OF the fiercest military in the world. No one will ever do that to them again. Catholics should stick together and not allow anyone to come knocking on their door demanding information. A side note: I asked my mother why the U.S. didn’t step in earlier when reports came about the Nazi’s putting people to death in ovens, etc. Her answer? She said, “No one could believe it.” “No one could believe any human being could do that to another human being. It was inconceivable!” Now we know. I originally thought this “evacuation” meant a weather related issue. I’m a Yankee and no one is going to put me out. If life became unbearable and I chose to leave, then I’d head south to Mexico and stay with Catholics.

  85. Gen says:

    Father Z, with all due respect, is sounds like maybe you need to have a garage sale?

  86. Andy Lucy says:

    When I first got out of the Army, I would have said I would stand and fight. I am married now, with two wonderful sons, and my keeping them safe and free is what is most important.

    As may be apparent, I have given much thought to this very subject over the years. I have made many preparations… both for sheltering in place (bugging-in) and for skedaddling over the horizon (bugging-out). I have read, and researched and spoken with persons who have much more experience than I possess.

    It doesn’t have to be something as drastic as a government sweep, picking up people with the wrong religious/political views. I live on the New Madrid fault. Many here live in hurricane country. More live in Tornado Alley. Being prepared is all about being ready for what is thrown at you. Day after day you will get thrown fast-balls, right downthe middle. You can get complacent. Then the knuckle-ball comes in and you swing and miss. Unfortunately, as in baseball, you might not get another turn at bat if this happens in real life.

    There are some really good preparedness websites out there. I would encourage everyone to learn as much as they can… knowledge is much more important that how much stuff you have. You can have a fully stocked survival retreat, but if the baddies show up there, and you have to leave with the ruck on your back… then what? Learn, learn, learn. Then practice everything… a lot. Develop a bug-out bag that works for you, then go out one weekend, and live out of your bag. Nothing else. Pretend you had to leave in a hurry. This will show you what you need to do to improve your loading of your bag.

    I’ll quit preaching now. I figure those who don’t care don’t want to read any more and those that are interested in asking me questions, can do so… my email is kg4zmf at bellsouth dot net. I might not know the answer to every question, but I likely do know someone who does.

    If this violates some rule, please free to delete/edit. I’m just trying to help as many folks prepare for the bad in life as I can.

  87. Franklin Jennings says:

    I really didn’t realise this was strictly a “round up the mackerel snappers” thing. My preps are for anything. Another Hunstville quake, infrastructure failure due to natural disaster or terrorism, plague, etc.

    And I didn’t include firestarters, rosary or pocket knife in my list because I am a man. I have those things on my person anytime I have pockets or a sporran. If they aren’t on me, they are in a wadded up pair of breeches on the floor by the bed.

    I’d never seen the INCH acronym, but thats essentially what my caches are. And they are buried in various locations I can forced march to in 72 hours, depending on the situation and where I think I should head. Public spaces like state parks and national forests are good places to secure caches, if you have the wilderness skills to slip in and out. But you have to maintain them over time.

    Which is a good excuse to get out of the city several weekends each year to enjoy nature and do some midnight digging.

  88. Andy Lucy says:

    Franklin Jennings,

    A sporran? A sporran? This can’t be real. Another kilted prepper? Outstanding! And here I thought I was the only guy in a kilt, who was into prepping.

    If you’re also a reenactor, I may have to look into whether we are brothers, seperated at birth. LOL

  89. I am not Spartacus says:

    They are coming for you

    Like I even care. If they were coming for me, I’d bravely get drunk and then weep like Baby Huey when they knocked on my door.

    If I had an “INCH” bag, it wouldn’t fit inside a C130

  90. Franklin Jennings says:

    Andy Lucy,

    Nope, no re-enacting. You can rest easy. Unless you ever stitched together your own kilt or sporran. Then maybe you should be afraid.


    If I were home in my hills, I’d do as you do. But I am in exile in Atlanta, GA for the next few years until the bride can be convinced to retire from corporate life. My preps are to get me back home.

  91. S says:

    Fr. Z, http://www.InsideCatholic.com has posted a book review which may give insight to readers of this thread.
    The Priests of Dachau
    by Ronald J. Rychlak
    10/08/07 A quote from the book:
    “Although they could be executed if caught, they secretly said Mass and used what little scraps of bread they could find to provide communion for priests and non-priests alike. Fr. Bernard wrote: “It is a sea of comfort that pours over the gathering. Comfort and hope and strength for new suffering joyfully accepted.”

  92. Tom S. says:

    Thanks Father Z. As with some of you, the first priority is the children (girls ages 5, 2, 1). My wife and I have made plans and preparations for bugging out (or in) and have most everything ready. In-house supplies to keep us alive for 4-6 weeks. Two INCH containers to throw in the truck as we leave (assuming we can take the truck). Bug-Out Bags for each of us that are with us at all times, and include all the essentials (food, shelter, navigation) for 72 hours on the road (or on foot), and good walkie-talkies. We also have a detailed contingency plan on how to proceed if separated and unable to communicate, and a series of rendezvous points, to be chosen based on the threat. This also includes a procedure for leaving coded signals behind (I was here, and I’ve headed to ___) in the hopes of eventually meeting up.

    Clarify your thoughts..

  93. Rouxfus says:

    To all of you who seem so well prepared for such a dire scenario:

    Under what imaginable and realistic circumstances do you think that in the United States a law-abiding citizen might have to become such a desperate refugee from ‘civil’ authority?

    If not civil authority, what might one need to flee from? And where do you go?

    If it is civil authority you are hiding from, what makes you think you can hide in the woods? With thermal imaging sensors they can find you right quick – even at night. Better than having a bunch of roughing it equipment wouldn’t it be better to buy and maintain a safe-house sanctuary?

    In a case of widespread civil disorder and mayhem, there are probably going to be many more desperate people converging on places where they can obtain food supplies and water who you’d have to worry about more than civil authorities, I imagine.

  94. Tim says:

    Oh, of course, of course. The Catholics and their persecution complex. Everyone is out to get you. The Protestants and the Muslims are conspiring to throw you all into camps and let you starve to death as you perform their slave labor. You all need to wake up. The only reason that it seems that the world is against you is because your church constantly pits itself against the modern world. Do you know what that is, the modern world? It is the 21st century, and you’re all about nine hundred years behind the times.

  95. Janet C. says:

    Oh, well, Tim, we’re just going by history. We also follow Our Lord and He hasn’t been back in 2,000 years; when He does, we’ll follow and get up-to-date. Luv ya.

  96. Jonathan Bennett says:

    I was actually in a similar situation about a month ago, in a way. It was more of “what do I take right now before I can send for the rest?”.

    For the sake of this discussion, lets say I could only take what I could carry on my person:

    Rosary, pocket crucifix, as much money as I could, maybe some small books, my chain of Holy medals, the brown scapular, mp3 player.

  97. Obviously my family would come first!

    But if I could only grab a few religious items, they would be:

    1. Byzantine Daily Worship (Archbishop Joseph Raya)
    2. The (BIG) Pocket-size Catechism of the Catholic Church
    3. Orthodox Study Bible and the Ignatius RSV-CE
    4. My 19th century Russian icon of Our Lady of Kazan that survived the persecution of the communists
    5. My prayer rope
    6. The Philokalia
    7. My hand censer with my supply of charcoal and incense and some candles
    8. My combined bound copies of Jean Danielou’s “From Shadows to Reality” and Henri de Lubac’s “Spiritual Exegesis”
    9. My small copy of “The Way of a Pilgrim”

    oh yeah…and some bread and a walking stick.


  98. Andrew says:

    Quid agimus, anima? Quo nos vertimus? Quid primum assumimus? … occupata luctu, oppressa lacrimis, praepedita singultibus, dicendi ordinem non tenes? (St. Hieronymus, epitaphium Nepotiani Presbyteri).

  99. Elizabeth V says:

    Dear Fr. Z,

    I daresay you were inspired.

    The quote about the baby pictures strikes right in my heart, because that is the first thing I thought of…. I guess because when my son was born, I couldn’t help but wonder where my daughter’s babyhood had gone. And now my son is 15 months, and I look at him and already I wonder where the time went? It goes so fast! I know that having the photos doesn’t make time move slower, but I would be devastated to lose them. That poor woman…those poor people. I feel so badly for them.

  100. Luis says:

    This reminds me of the “survivalist” days in my youth. The premise may be a bit faulty as fleeing in a disaster is not the preferred situation. You usually have a better chance of survival if you can stay put.. although that might mean staying put in a secondary location outside of large population centers. As I recall I had scoped out locations for a survival “keep” out in the country. The trick would be getting there before the trouble began. I live in South Florida so my main concern is Hurricane rather than rabid modernists. Even so, the recent events in California are a lesson for everyone. You need to assess your local risks and prepare accordingly. While preparing for a Hurricane you might also have the beginnings for preparing for a period of civil unrest.

    Father Z, if your question is more than just an mental exercise than answers might get more complicated.
    … and it might be a good idea to include weapons as Our Lord advised his apostles to sell the cloak and buy a sword…
    I think I still have some “survivalist” weblinks somewhere if anyone is interested then email me. There are plenty of “Christian survivalists” on the internet but many of them think the Roman Catholic Church is the Anti Christ. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Christian_survival_last_days/ isn’t too bad.
    Pax Vobiscum

  101. I have a “photographer’s vest” that I wear during the spring and fall. It has a lot of pockets, of different kinds. If carrying a bag or a pack got to be a problem, I could resort to it.

    But that’s not what concerns me with the question posed here?

    Looking at the image above, it seems to me that an entire population had lost the ability to take care of themselves. I also remember the image of dozens of school buses, primed for the evacuation, sitting in waist-deep water for the Mayor’s orders. Did the drivers forsake their loyalty to public service and refuse to show up? Did anyone hunkered down in a “command center” have anyone at the receiving end of any orders they were sending out? Would an enterprising groups of Knights of Columbus be able to commandeer some of those buses and start moving people out to warehouses and gymnasiums in outlying areas? Would Scouts and Columbian Squires and Ladies Sodalities have hot food and cots with warm blankets waiting for them?

    What is the Catholic response when this happens? Where is all that “lay ministry” I’ve been hearing so much about? I know the Knights responded very quickly, and are still sending help to Louisiana. What of those bureaucrats in the chanceries?

  102. Terry says:

    I thought of your original post wich you reprint here when victims of the fires in California were asked what they took as they evacuated their homes.

  103. Michael says:

    Wife, kids, dog, rosary, holy cards and saint statues on my dresser, my father’s missal & the guns.

  104. Other Paul says:

    I live in Santee, which is about 15 miles east of San Diego. We have the Witch fire to the north and to the east, and the Harris fire to the south. Fortunately we didn’t have to evacuate, but the cars are still loaded up for evacuation. The only religious article I took was my father’s rosary and it is still in my pocket. My library? It can be replaced. All the pictures, the videos and even the computer that stores our digital photos are in the car. Clothes. Food. Water. A tent. This blog post was very much in my mind while we packed and I’m grateful to Fr. Z for calling these things to mind a few weeks ago.

  105. Other Paul says:

    Oh, and I did put Collins’ A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin in the car in case I had a spare moment or two to continue working on my Latin. So I guess I did take a bit of my library with me. And the computer we loaded into the car has a rather large religious library in softcopy form as well.

  106. Malta says:

    I can imagine being misplaced because of natural disaster or warfare/terrorism. After all, one million are now displaced in S. Cal. I can also imagine food shortages and roving bands of mercenaries if civil order were to break-down, say, after a major terrorist attack. Macarthy’s The Road is a great book, you all should read it.

  107. BK says:

    The Federal government recommends every family living in known disaster-prone regions to prepare a “BOB” (Bug-out bag.) A decent backpack if often the best bag for a “BOB” because it has high capacity, distributes weight over the shoulders and waste for long periods of walking, and leaves the hands free:


    “A Bug Out Bag is a portable kit containing all of the items one would require to survive for seventy two hours after evacuating from a disaster. It is also known as a 72hr kit, emergency kit and disaster supplies kit. The focus on evacuation, rather than survival, distinguishes the bug-out bag from a survival kit.


    The primary purpose of a Bug-out Bag (BOB) is to allow one to evacuate quickly if a disaster should strike. It is therefore prudent to gather all of the materials and supplies that might be required to do this into a single place, such a bag or a few storage containers. The recommendation that a BOB should contain enough supplies for seventy two hours arises from advice from organisations responsible for disaster relief and management that it may take them up to seventy two hours to reach people affected by a disaster and offer help. They therefore suggest that a BOB should contain enough supplies to allow those reliant on it to survive for this length of time.

    In addition to allowing one to survive a disaster, the assembling of a BOB has the added benefit of allowing one to deal with common emergencies such as injuries, house fires, blackouts and so on. Since all of the materials needed to deal with these common emergencies have been both purchased and collected into a single easy to find place (The BOB) one is far better prepared to deal with them.


    The suggested contents of a BOB vary, but most of the following are usually included:

    * Enough food and water to last for seventy two hours.
    * A first aid kit.
    * A disaster plan including location of emergency centers, rallying points, possible evacuation routes etc.
    * Professional emergency literature explaining what to do in various types of disaster, studied and understood before the actual disaster but kept for reference.
    * Maps and Travel Information.
    * Standard camping equipment, including sanitation supplies.
    * Tents or other emergency shelter.
    * Clothes and bedding.
    * Enough medicine to last an extended evacuation period if, for example, one’s home were destroyed.
    * Defensive tools and weapons.
    * Pet needs.
    * “Self powered radio and self powered lighting” and Glow sticks.

  108. Maria says:

    Thinking “a few minutes” as Father Z wrote: Rosary, wool coat, maybe wall crucifix. Reading the responses I would add pocket knife, water bottle, Missal if taking a backpack, jeans, & if I were to have 12 hours, the dense bread someone suggested. I’m a college student so was just thinking of myself, but with the “last stand” comments, perhaps I would try to go to the abbey church: 20 priests, 10 more able-bodied brothers, and stone walls. Not that I could help if it came to fighting, but if they held up a defense, it would be good to be stuck somewhere where you could hear Mass, as everyone has commented.

  109. Michael Fudge says:

    I had to evacuate from the fires in California. At 4 am on Monday morning I received a phone call from my Mother saying that she was just told to evacuate. She lives about 5 miles from me. I got up and looked outside. The normally black morning sky was blood red. Ash was falling. I turned on the radio (I don’t have cable tv and I cannot receive any broadcast signal, a common San Diego feature) and listened to the neighborhoods being evacuated. I did not here mine. I called my mother back, and she said she was packing and going to my sister’s house.

    I then looked outside again. One by one the lights in the my neighbors houses started turning on. Their garage doors were opening and precious belongings started to be carried out. I knew it was time to go. I did not receive the reverse-911 call, but my neighbors did.

    It did not take me long to pack. I looked at the bookshelves, my prized possessions. I grabbed my 1962 handmissal, one of my bibles, my breviary, and my childhood episcopal Book of Common Prayer. Then I grabbed my rosaries, a statue of the Infant of Prague (I really do not know why). Next I packed my laptop, ipod and charging cords. I put some clothes in a backpack and grabbed my medications. I headed downstairs and grabbed my 4 gnomes (once again not sure why). I headed out to my car and put everything in it.

    I went back in to close up. I made sure all of the windows were shut. I said a prayer before the Holy Family statue. I looked at my books again and decided to leave all of them. I grabbed some paperwork and my passport. I went to the garage, which holds lifetime of memories neatly boxed up, and grabbed my fathers, grandfathers and great-grand-fathers watches. Then I left.

    My neighborhood was spared, the fire was very close. My mom’s house is fine (she lost a fence). But the neighborhood I grew up in, just a few minutes away, lost a lot of homes. The family I used to tutor lost their home. The family who helped my mother when my dad died lost theirs. Many other people I know will now have to rebuild. But, by God’s grace, everyone is safe.

    I returned last night. I put away everything I took (2 backpacks and 2 small bags). It was then I realized how little I took. But, I do not think I would have done anything differently.

  110. Derik Castillo says:

    Everyone who lives in an area likely to be
    hit by natural disasters should have done
    this excersise in the past.

    A call for evacuation a few minutes before
    the disaster strikes your home only says
    that the commendable efforts of the goverment
    are insufficient.

    In the case fires heads in my direction, I would
    transfer all my valuables to a self-storage
    place. Of course that would take me long time,
    so I wouldn’t rely on 911 calling my home.


  111. Father Bartoloma says:

    1. Chalice
    2. Relics
    3. Photo Albums
    4. Lap Top
    5. Evangelairum (looked for years for a nice one on ebay, rejoiced when I found it)

  112. yvonne says:

    My children,

    –nearly 100 year old linen cloth – painted with the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa that was in my grandmothers home in Poland that she took with her when the Germans seized their farm during WWII,

    –family photos that are stored ALL together in a Rubbermaid box,

    –family jewelry and the safebox with all our important documents.

    (we never leave the house without our rosaries, everyone puts them in their pockets before we walk out the door everyday)-We have a little box right by the front door next to our Holy Water Font. That way we NEVER misplace them!!

  113. MSusa says:

    We did an inventory before/after hurricane Katrina and here is ours;
    Spouse and kids
    Bible and missal
    Diaper bag!
    strong box w/legal documents etc
    box of pics

  114. Tom S. says:

    We have loaded all of our photos (at least the digital ones) on to 2mb USB drives (one for each of us), along with important information/numbers/addresses, scans of documents, etc. They stay with us at all times, along with the other things in our personal bug-out bags.

  115. chris K says:

    Just bury a packet containing rosary, miraculous medal, scapular, St. Benedict medal and some blessed salt at corners of property. Then every so often sprinkle blessed salt/holy water around the house perimeter and you won’t have to worry!!!! Oh, and have the house enthronement to the Sacred Heart.

    (This is beginning to sound like a Michael O’Brien novel…hmmmm!)

  116. In the light of Father Z’s update on this post, I now envisage two entirely different scenarios :

    I am living in a civilised, ordered democracy under the rule of law.
    My neighborhood is threatened by fires blazing out of control.
    I am given notice by the authorities to evacuate.
    Not being a complete loony, I of course get out quick, and leave the house and contents to burn down. (Grab the insurance policy before you go.)
    I go and find a motel for the night.

    “They are coming for you.”
    Civilisation and the rule of law has collapsed.
    If I don’t make a run for it, they’ll come and arrest me and march me off to a concentration camp.
    Well, I’m not letting them do that.

    I couldn’t be bothered making a dash for the hills.
    What could I look foward to ? A life of guerrilla warfare, while they slowly pick us off and we gradually fall victim to hunger, cold, disease ?
    No thanks. I’ll stay where I am and fight them.

    If I could be any use, I’d join Pristinus Sapienter at the barricade and hold them off as long as possible while married men escape to the hills with their families.

    In that case, a shotgun, a bottle of beer and my rosary beads are all I’ll need.
    Is this sheer bravado ?
    On the contrary. I just don’t think I’d be any use any other way.

    And, at the end, one thing they can’t stop you doing is saying your prayers.
    And prayer is good wherever it is offered.

Comments are closed.