No live-stream Mass today, alas. Prayers requested.

Folks, I can’t do a live-streamed Mass today. I wouldn’t inflict it on you.

Something is deeply wrong with the muscles in my upper back ever since the afternoon of Christmas Day.  Yesterday, I got through Mass. Today… well… I’ll try later.

In any event, I would appreciate your prayers for the swift relief of the pain.  It isn’t just when I move – amazing how many things are connected to the back – it’s constant.

Meanwhile, this is an opportunity to offer the pain for some people who have been less than charitable to me lately on social media, one of whom even threatened the bishop here.  This is par for the course, naturally.  However, in addition to prayers I usually usually say for them what that stuff pops up, as it occasionally does, this time I also get to bring the big guns in.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been appealing to the saints whose relics are at my private altar and I’ve asked the Holy Angels to do their part.  Hopefully some teamwork will prevail… and FAST.   If not… well, I’ll deal with that as I may.

In case you are wondering, I am still able to recite – and DO recite, Ch. 3 of Title 11 of the Rituale Romanum precisely for the objects I have so often laid out.  And I continue to pray for protection against demonic influence of anyone involved in the certification of the presidential election.

I find it interesting that the attacks from the people on social media revolve around my recitation of an exorcism.

I find it also interesting that on the one day in a long time that I didn’t say the exorcism, Christmas Day, the back thing hit.


Exorcists will explain that just as there is a connection between the members of the Church which is Christ’s Mystical Body, there is also a connection between those who are witting and unwitting servants of the Enemy of the Soul in a mocking ugly mirror of Christ’s Body.  One of my exorcist friends told me that these agents can be activated and directed in a coordinated way, and they don’t even realize who they are being instrumentalized.

This is all part of the “visible and invisible” by which we are surrounded.  This is all part of the spiritual war we are all involved in, like it or not.  And in war there are unpleasant things.  We have to be ready to do our parts with the help of the angels and also through the graces which the Sacrament of Confirmation brings to us.

Mary, Queen of Angels… protect us.
Mary, Queen of the Clergy… help me.
St. Michael… defend us.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jacob says:

    Father, praying for you.

    Someone kindly gave me a Combat Rosary in early December. I will use it today to take aim at those troubling you.

  2. Joe says:

    Praying for you, Father.

  3. GloriaDei says:

    Memorare for your speedy healing! Planning to attend an outdoor TLM at 1:30 pm (PST) Will offer for you.

  4. DebbieInCT says:

    Praying for you, Fr.

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    Prayers for you Fr. Z, back injuries are certainly unpleasant.

    Speaking of exorcisms, here’s CWR on Dr. Richard Gallagher the author of “Demonic Foes: My Twenty-Five Years as a Psychiatrist Investigating Possessions, Diabolic Attacks and the Paranormal.”

    How about some uplifting music, good year-round:

    “And He shall Reign Forever and Ever”

  6. Fallibilissimo says:

    Those are disturbing words Fr. Praying for you.

    God help us all!

  7. acardnal says:

    Semper Gumby, here’s the link to the CWR book review you mentioned: HERE

    I recently received the book. FYI, the doctor also taught at St Joseph’s seminary in Dunwoody, NY.

  8. tho says:

    Father, you are the greatest. Your physical problems are distressing to me, but you are tough, and your prayer life, coupled with the prayers of those who admire you will win the battle.

  9. Gregg the Obscure says:

    for you to forego a (quasi-)public Sunday Mass, clearly it’s got to be bad. of course i pray for you.

  10. benedetta says:

    Praying for you Father!

  11. missalecta says:


    Thank you for your magnanimity. We are praying for you. You are very loved and appreciated.

  12. Gab says:

    I will be going to Mass shortly, so I will pray for you, Father. God bless you.

  13. Irish Timothy says:

    Saint Gemma Galgani – patron saint of those suffering back pain. I’ll pray for her intercession Fr.Z, hope and pray you feel better soon!

  14. Tooksam says:

    Ephesians 6:12 For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

  15. Ms. M-S says:


  16. mamajen says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Father. I hope you are feeling better soon and will pray for you. I hope you have someone to bring you comforting meals or whatever you might need while you are down.

    Thank you so much for the exorcisms. I’ve been praying for the same intention, and it’s been comforting to know that you have the “big guns” out and have not abandoned hope. I’ve seen some shocking ugliness toward priests on social media recently. Old Scratch and his minions are out in force.

  17. mysticalrose says:

    We’ll be adding your intention to tonight ‘s rosary, Father.

  18. Maureen M says:

    Praying for your protection and a speedy recovery. Thank you for all that you do for God’s people.

  19. The demonic is loose upon the world; today we heard that stained glass windows in our Cathedral in Fall River were purposely broken sometime in the last day or so.

    Ol’ Scratch is having a field day and the demonic attacks will only increase in intensity as the next month plays out. He’s not giving up without a fight…but we know who wins in the end. The prince of this world will not win, however uncomfortable it may seem right now.

    Prayers for your recovery, Father. After my motorcycle accident at the beginning of November, it’s been quite uncomfortable sitting in the car for hours on end between PA and MA…so, I’ll offer up th0se particular pains in my ankles and wrists in satisfaction for what you’re going through right now.

  20. oldCatholigirl says:

    Praying to St. Michael and St. Giuseppe Moscati.

  21. bobbortolin says:

    Prayers to you Father!

  22. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Grace builds on nature, and demonic attacks can build on nature, too. So I’m sure the stress of this year and of all these social media haters doesn’t help your back.

    If you don’t already know about the “Bob and Brad” physical therapists channel on YouTube, Twitter, et al, you might want to spend a little time checking it out. They belong to a school of thought that patients can do a lot for themselves with simple exercises, painless ways to release muscle tension, etc. And they also help give you some idea of what’s going on with what ails you, which I prefer to ignorance and which helps me feel better.

  23. Suburbanbanshee says:

    And PS — thanks for the exorcisms. As cruddy as this year has been, we need all of the Lord’s help that we can get!

  24. Sue in soCal says:

    Praying for a swift recovery.

  25. Mariana2 says:

    On it.

  26. grateful says:

    God lives in the now.
    and May God send an angel to comfort you.

  27. Jones says:

    When I read that you skipped it and prayed the prayer for the pandemic instead, which we are seeing more everyday as a hoax or not as deadly as previously thought, I did question as to why?

    [I have no idea what that means.]

  28. JonPatrick says:

    Father I pray for you every day during my morning intentions, I will add a specific prayer for your back condition.

    @Jones, while the pandemic itself is not as deadly as it is made out to be, the overreaction of shutting down of the economy and social interaction has been devastating. The cure has been truly been worse than the disease. It is not unreasonable to see this as a trial run for control of the population as one might have in a Socialist dictatorship. Particularly devastating for the Church which has been singled out in many cases. Truly diabolical.

  29. Fr_Sotelo says:


    The reason some of us are praying to be delivered from the pandemic is because of loved ones we have lost.

    These are people who a few months ago were up and around. They were working. They took care of themselves. Then, they said they caught a “flu.” In no time at all, they were bedridden.

    Then they had to be taken to the hospital. They went into respiratory distress and their oxygen level tanked. Finally, their last destination was ICU, where they died.

    In my parish, we have had at least 10 funerals from this “flu.” We are a small, country parish in farmland. I have never seen this much dying, in a few months, from otherwise healthy people in my 14 years as pastor.

    But people still say it’s a hoax. I don’t think so. I’m glad Fr. Z offers the prayers.

  30. Fr. Kelly says:

    Praying for you, Fr. Z

  31. “I’ve also been appealing to the saints whose relics are at my private altar”

    I will also appeal to the saints that I have 1st. class relics of ; Pope Pius X, St. Therese, St. Rose of Lima, St. Colette and Blessed Fr. Seelos. My relics are on my dresser overlooking my husband who has cancer.

  32. Lusp says:

    I pray your back gets to feeling better soon! I share your disgust at the lack of charity on social media: it is diabolical. A few weeks ago Rorate published an article by de Mattei about the pandemic and traditional/conservative Catholics. He made the point that, at the end of 2019 we were as united as we had ever been, having united against (and thwarted to an extent) some of the machinations of Pope Francis in recent years. Covid has done away with this unity. Trads are at each other’s throats again, over whether or not COVID is a hoax or whether or not you can take the vaccine. What he said that I really agree with is that, obviously we are going through grave times in Divine Providence’s plans, but God wouldn’t subject us to these trials without also giving us the graces to remain faithful. However, if we are all agitated and attacking each other, we are in no proper state to receive or correspond to these graces. I don’t agree with everything you write, but speaking for myself, I love you as a priest and please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers – my wife and children pray for several priests by name every day and we will add your name to the list. As a priest friend of mine told me recently, the devil is on a long leash right now!

  33. Jones says:

    Fr. Soleto, Im not sure what constitutes a “health person” in your parish and I am sorry to hear you had so many deaths. But with a 99 percent survival rate, that does not constitute a “deadly virus”. For some yes, just as the flu is deadly for some but this is not the Spanish flu. Also my comment was me wondering aloud as to why Fr. Z didn’t pray the exorcism prayer on Christmas like usual? Now there’s this post were he thinks his he back problems are attributed directly to NOT praying the exorcism prayer. It was more focused on that verses the damage done by the virus.

    [Get your facts straight. First, while I regularly pray a prayer against the pandemic, I also regularly pray Ch. 3 from title XI of the Roman Ritual, against Satan and Fallen Angels. That’s two different prayers and for different reasons.]

  34. Jones says:

    Sure Father no disrespect. You’ll be included in my next 15 decade rosary.

    [Thank you very much.]

  35. Ellen says:

    Back aches are terrible. I will offer my holy hour for you, Father.

  36. TheLanguageMan says:

    We’re so sorry to hear that, Father! Praying for your quick recovery.
    You’ve done so much for our spiritual health; please focus on your physical health now!
    We’ll be here when you get back…err…return! :D

  37. Clinton R. says:

    May the Lord Bless and heal you, Father. May the Virgin Mary pray for you. May St. Michael protect you. I pray the Lord grant you succor and that you feel better soon. +JMJ+

  38. Semper Gumby says:

    acardnal: Thanks for the link. You might be interested in former police officer Jesse Romero’s “The Devil in the City of Angels.”

    Bryan D. Boyle: Unfortunate to hear about the stained glass windows.

  39. Veronica scriptor velum says:

    Dear Father Z, I am really sorry to hear about your excruciating back pain. My husband has been suffering from acute lumbago for nearly a month now, so I know how awful back pain can be. He has been reduced from an active lively person to a subdued invalid who can only get reasonably comfortable when he is lying down! The medicine he has been prescribed helps the pain somewhat but does nothing to right the problem.

    Yes, offering up the pain is the only thing to do. By turning something definitely bad into something useful and beneficial for souls is a slap in the face for Old Scratch. “Don’t waste your suffering!” Ven. Fulton Sheen tells us.

    You are in our prayers. Get better soon… your flock needs you.

  40. robtbrown says:

    God moves through instrumental causes. You might try:

    A Bed Buddy. Available at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Rite Aid and a few other places for $10-15. It’s a long sock with handles, filled with rice–put it in a microwave for a few minutes and apply it to the area.

    Homedic Shiatsu massager. Under $50. About 13″x 7″.

  41. beelady says:

    I agree with Suburbanbanshee, “Bob and Brad” have great exercises that help with all sorts of problems.
    I will pray for a swift recovery for you, Father Z.

  42. Charivari Rob says:

    Jones, while other things are indeed more deadly (in percentages and/or totals) than Covid-19, there is no factual basis to say that this pandemic is a hoax or is “not deadly”.

    [I’ve lost priest friends to it.]

  43. RosaryRose says:

    Praying for you Fr Z! Asking my Guardian Angel to be with you through this.

  44. SKAY says:

    Praying for you Father. I know how miserable back pain can be.

  45. Fr_Sotelo says:


    The subject of this thread is praying for Fr. Z as he is suffering back pain.

    So, I don’t want to belabor points about covid-19. Trump threw out the “99% harmless” phrase in July, but failed to follow up with any scientific studies.

    Our Center for Disease Control places the fatality rate at 4.5% overall, and higher for more vulnerable groups.

    In addition, the Journal of the American Medical Association places post covid-19 suffering at 40% overall. That is from studying the numbers of survivors, who say that their quality of life has suffered overall (they are called “long haulers”).

    In the worse cases, the long haulers report a permanent loss of taste and smell, chest pains and cardiac health problems, difficulty breathing from scarred lungs, damage to internal organs because of decreased oxygen during the illness, and crippling exhaustion.

    If a person has not seen this suffering up close, praise God. But I think that we should leave people in peace who pray against the pandemic–even if they think there is no pandemic.

    Prayers for the sick, who have whatever sickness, are always needed in the Church.

  46. Semper Gumby says:

    A nice gesture of a Rosary for our host by Jones, who likely intended the phrase “exploited for political purposes by Leftists and the ChiComs” rather than “hoax” when referring to the Wuhan Virus.

  47. Transportsjoie says:

    Fr Sotelo,
    Thank you for your posts which prevented me this morning from going out and doing unnecessary shopping. Here in Ontario, Canada, we are in a province wide lockdown for 28 days, and psychologically I am suffering from the effects of isolation a bit. However it is nothing compared to the suffering inflicted by the virus.
    Thank you, Fr.Z, for your constant efforts in keeping us afloat, especially during this time, for your words of clarity re: the vaccine, for your recent feverino re: King David, for your memorable series on Our Lady of Sorrows and so much more. I will be praying for you.

  48. WVC says:

    Suffering is a part of life. Death is a part of life. Disease is a part of life. Anyone who has been promising otherwise is speaking like the serpent in the Garden.

    Either we live our lives, or we forfeit them.

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