ASK FATHER: A priest asks about “behind the lines” warfare against the Enemy.

From a priest in a European country writes…


First thanks for your blog. It`s one of the things that kept me sane during my seminary years. [Thanks for that!] I`m a newly ordained priest from ___. A few moments ago I returned from a late evening walk on the streets of the parish where I work (in my cassock!). I prayed for people and blessed streets few times and it came to me as something very powerful: I`m responsible for the salvation of those people, they are mine and I should be the first one to go around and help them in the battle – even in a very “secret” way. I will use exorcised and blessed salt next time. Which prayers do you recommend for a “pastoral” walk like that (fortunately I was on my own, so no “synhodos” this time!)?

I did Sancte Michael Archangele and Magnificat few times, but I`m sure you have some powerful ideas! It`s dark – so something which I can memorize easily would be appreciated.

Si vis pacem para bellum!

That’s a good question.  Secret?

You might memorize the prayers for the blessings of houses, cars, various objects you might see often.

You might buy small medals and bless them and leave them in different places.

Be careful sprinkling salt around.  “Hello, Police?  There’s a guy in a robe out here sprinkling some kind of ‘white powder’….”

It may be that some readers have other serious ideas.

The war must now also move to the supernatural front.  Priests are both the officers leading the troops and they are the scouts and resistance fighters behind the lines.

Be The Maquis.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    My family and I sometimes take what we call a rosary walk. We pray it (not every time) for the conversion of our neighborhood.

  2. In re surreptitiously sprinkling blessed salt: I am reminded of the scene from The Great Escape where the POWs hide the dirt from digging their escape tunnels by stowing it in pouches inside their pant legs and gradually releasing it with a string as they walk around the compound.

    But how about some open warfare too? Couldn’t Father periodically lead a procession around the bounds of his parish?

  3. marcusjosephus says:

    As a layman, I use blessed St. Benedict medals. (Clear Creek Abbey will bless them after the sale and before mailing.) Pray as you go and plant medals where appropriate. I have been told it is a bit of an old Irish custom. St. Teresa of Calcutta used the Miraculous Medal in such a manner, publicly, exhorbitantly, and shamelessly!

  4. rdb says:

    I think what this priest is doing is great and I hope he keeps it up. That being said, I disagree with the young priest’s line, “I`m responsible for the salvation of those people.” The pastor and the bishop are responsible for the salvation of the people. The young priest is there to serve within the mission of the bishop and the pastor. I realize that the pastor (and unfortunately even the bishop) may not be the greatest when it comes to fidelity, orthodoxy and zeal for souls, but the parochial vicar (which I am assuming he is, being recently ordained) must keep that in mind. He needs to learn from his pastor (both the good and the bad) and prepare one day to be the pastor of souls in his parish boundaries.

  5. ChesterFrank says:

    Might blessed chalk be something to add to the arsenal?

  6. Barnacle says:

    @ Chris G-Z, I do this too, also when driving. I can ‘see’ the droplets of rosary beads forming a fine long string along my way, glistening and twinkling, and frightening away the nasty local infestations hanging out hereabouts. I collect destinations and add them to my web!

  7. Hidden One says:

    Sadly, it’s no longer a safe assumption that a recently ordained priest is not a pastor. Such has been happening for some years in certain dioceses in Canada. I do not find it challenging to believe it may be the case in certain places in Europe.

  8. happyCatholic says:

    Thanks, Marcus, for the information about the St. Benedict metals from Clear Creek. That is exactly the kind of information I need to know!

  9. Sandy says:

    “Planting” blessed medals is an excellent idea. I have done that at 2 previous homes and just did it where we are now. I put a blessed Miraculous Medal at each of the 4 corners of the property and know that Mother Mary’s mantle is over us, very comforting.

  10. happyCatholic says:

    Along these lines, I have a sincere question: is it ok, then, to liberally place blessed medals, give out rosaries, place prayer cards with holy images (like Divine Mercy) say in rest stops, in parades, etc? I love the idea of evangelizing this way; just am concerned with the potential for abuse of the images, etc., when distributing such items in random places to random people. Also, is there a violation of private property rights by leaving such items say, in a restaurant?
    Truly, I love the idea of being more bold and reclaiming the culture and getting these items more exposure/ into the hands of people. My concern is for the possible abuse of the item and also, taken to an (philosophical) extreme “if everybody did it” how cluttered some places could become?

  11. Fr. Kelly says:

    I commend this young priest for his zeal and pray for his perseverance.

    He knows his responsibilities even if he receives misguided advice from time to time.

    rdb : I disagree with the young priest’s line, “I`m responsible for the salvation of those people.” The pastor and the bishop are responsible for the salvation of the people. The young priest is there to serve within the mission of the bishop and the pastor.

    If, as you assume, this newly ordained priest is a parochial vicar, then he is assigned to the care of souls (_cura animarum_) in that parish under the pastor. As such, he _is_ responsible for the salvation of those people “within the mission of the bishop and pastor” This mission is precisely the salvation of these people’ s souls.

    His ability to fulfill this responsibility is subject to his pastor, and so may be limited in some ways, but the fact that he does not need delegation for marriages, etc is because he does, indeed bear the responsibility for souls that he speaks of.

    Kudos to this young priest!

  12. KateD says:

    We know of some people who keep salt in their pockets….and so either a pin hole in the bottom of the pocket allows for a steady rate of dispersal through the aperture down the pant leg and onto the ground beneath, unnoticed….think of the Great Escape and how they distributed the soil from the tunnels. And then who doesn’t carry a water bottle for hydration these days? And darn if those lids don’t fit just right how they drip as you walk….a little sprinkle here, and a little sprinkle there. Again a pinhole wallered out a bit will give a good walking rate of drip. Several witchy businesses have been closed down after repeated visits from said known people. I have been met at the gate of one such business by one of the witches and told in no uncertain terms “We’re closed!”. “Oh when do you open?”, I inquired. “For you?!? NEVER!”. lol. Magic to my ears!

    There are fabulous prayers on the back two pages of Father Gabrielle Amorth’s books (see cover art in the post above). And then there’s the psalms…..How many times did they march around Jericho?

    And while I don’t recommend this for the daily stroll, on the note of Jericho….Once while praying in front of Planned Parenthood, a woman walked up said some prayers and then took out this long shofar and blew it in the direction of the walls we’d like to see come down. Moments later a young woman slated for an abortion bolted out of the building. She ran and ran down that street…never to be seen again. It is a wild and eerie sound that is made by that horn. Apparently it scared the hell out of her.

    God bless your endeavor, Father. Remember this is WAR! Wear all your armor.

    Take that ground back; Claim it for the Kingdom of Heaven! Deus Vincit!

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