Fr. Z asks: Are you preparing?


Are you preparing?

The economic situation looks pretty dire. As fuel prices go up, the cost of everything, not just fuel for your car or heat for your house, will be passed on to us. There are supply chain issues. And who knows what China is going to do.

Conditions can change for the worse REALLY FAST.

Are you taking steps?

What are they?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Making the Nine First Fridays. One of the promises of the Nine First Fridays is not to die without the Sacraments.

  2. Kate says:

    We made an extra effort to get the mortgage paid off when it was looking like hubbie might lose his job over the covid jab. He was (and still is) working a lot of overtime during covid life. It’s amazing how much more generous we can be without that hanging over our head, and we’re hoping we can continue that generosity as our neighbors who haven’t been as fortunate as we have feel the pinch more and more as the months tick by. P.S. – We’ve always been well stocked on food and supplies.

  3. Jim Dorchak says:

    We are always living in a way to prepare for tomorrow. It is an older way of life. You prepare for your first days and your last. So for us here in Chile on the farm we buy a little extra what we can not make. This month it was salt. Sea salt 50 kg. Pure sea salt. Good for curing hams and rabbit skins and sheep skins and the list goes on and one. This month we bought Brisket so that we can cure them up for Pastrami. Hey no one said the end of the world should be a time with out Pastrami!. 20 pounds of Noodles and pasta. 100kg of Harina or flour.
    A little each month put away in the root cellar. Jim

  4. Cost cutting in other areas, including certain luxury items, buy more in bulk, preparing emergency kits for quick evacuation for at least three days. Would like to network with other traditional Catholics for how spiritual needs would be met during a “bug-out.”

  5. colospgs says:

    I’ve been prepping for a while now. I have about a year’s worth of good, tasty food stored up. I can cook using a rocket stove, and 3 different solar ovens. 500 gallons of water stored, but even though we live in a semi-arid desert, I still can collect rainwater when it does come. I have a 1300 Wh solar generator. Working on a larger faraday cage that will fit the generator and the panels. Plenty of protective devices of differing kinds and sizes and the supplies that go with them. I have a bicycle with cargo bags.

    I don’t have: communications equipment (other than a wind-up radio), neighborhood safety plan. I’m in trouble if a bug-out is needed as most of my planning relies on a shelter-in-place scenario. Looking forward to what others write so I can get a better idea of where I am lacking.

  6. Cafea Fruor says:

    I really have no idea how to prepare materially. I don’t have much in savings, and I just got into a five-year master’s & doctorate program for the fall that will be too intense for working on the side after the first year (and maybe even in the first year). And I don’t know yet where or with whom I’ll be living, as I won’t be able to find a roommate until I know who else is in my cohort. So I’m probably going to have to just borrow more than I was expecting and trust that God will help me financially, since I’m quite certain that this is the path He’s asking me to pursue.

    And I guess that means that most of my preparation will be spiritual–going to confession, praying, etc.

  7. Theodore says:

    Stock up on food and hygiene stuff first, is my go-to. Rice, flour, beans/lentils, peanut butter, oatmeal, pasta – all bulk. Cheap, filling, and a good baseline of nutrition. Supplement with nuts, dried fruits, canned/frozen veggies, and canned/frozen/cured meats. Vacuum sealer helps, or a canning set-up.
    Toothpaste, ointment, band-aids, gauze, pain-killers, medical tape, prescription medications, rubbing alcohol, deodorant, toilet paper, soap, etc. All the stuff we don’t think about normally, until it’s gone. Get ’em now while they’re cheap.
    It’s good to just comb through the fridge, pantry, medicine cabinet, bathroom, closet, dresser, etc, and pick out all the stuff that you’ll expect to buy more of in the near future. Light bulbs, batteries, tupperware, zip-lock bags, socks, paper towels, dish soap, motor oil, pet food, etc. Only store gasoline in approves containers – seriously.
    I’m by no means any kind of expert, but I foresee a ‘shelter in place’ style scenario – means there’s less to think about and less to plan/pack. Power and water can possibly be relied on for some people, but if you have a legitimate concern you could lose power or water due to economic hardships then plan for that as well. Even plan for losing the house if that’s a concern.
    And take care of your soul – go to confession. I’ve acquired a copy of St. Alphonsus’ “Uniformity with God’s Will” (pretty sure it’s all over the internet in free PDF form as well – 32 pages).
    Three names come to mind, in times like this: Noah, Joseph (OT), and Job. Prep, pray, and be at peace.

  8. M.D. says:

    Put large freezer in basement and buying any meat on sale.

  9. B says:

    I am focused on praying for the Ukrainians. Their situation is far worse than me worrying about the price of filling up my car. At least I still have a country that hasn’t been invaded by a mad dictator that is killing civilians…

  10. Irish Timothy says:

    As others have said, the First Friday and First Saturday deceptions. I regret not doing these earlier in my life. Wear the Brown Scapular, Miraculous Medal. Going to confession and mass as well both with much more frequentcy. I’m single so the financial part of things is more secure as I don’t have a family, but still need to look out for others. Have plenty of food aside but also have to remember the need to share should the occasion arise. We know our neighbours but sometimes we don’t know what they are going through or when they might need some help. I also think at times to back off a little more from the media. No matter what we have to admit that they flipped the switch from Covid to the Ukraine at lighting speed. Better off at times to read the Gospels or a life of the saint or of course an extra rosary vs the media push that can make you anxious. Just my 2 cents. Not staying stick your head in the hand, but we know how things get slanted these days. Stay positive and focused on God and the Blessed Virgin Mary along with St Joesph everyone!

  11. Unfinished says:

    Costco is currently having a sale on the “Readywise 150 Serving Emergency Food Bucket.” Got a few of those just in case. Also gallon and gallons of water. We are on a well so when the power goes out, the water goes out once the tank is exhausted. Also just got a solar powered lantern with a hand crank that can double as a phone/usb charger.

    I think in “doom and gloom” scenario, it would mostly constitute a cyber attack against the power grid in some way. So being prepared for a multiday/multiweek power outage is about the best you can do. Would love to have the home wired for generator use, but I don’t have the know-how or the funds.

    If it ever comes to you having to flee your home you can only take what fits in the car anyway. And in that scenario there isn’t a whole lot you can do besides load up with all your survival/camping gear and essentials.

  12. APX says:

    I’m trying to get myself in a better financial situation, but I live below the poverty line for my city. If gas keeps going up, I soon won’t be able to afford to drive to work, which is problematic since I have to be at work before public transit even starts.

    Also trying to maximize my $100 monthly grocery budget. Everything in Canada is so expensive.

  13. I’m finishing the design process of a real, homemade reredos for the chapel in my family’s house. We’ve had Mass said in our chapel before, but it is still fundamentally a bedroom. But with the coming storm and all, it’s high time we make it a truly fitting space. Legos aren’t good enough for the REAL Mass, I guess. xD

    On that note, actually – if we get our hands on an antique altar stone, but there most likely won’t be a tabernacle, what would be the appropriate blessing for such an altar? And could that be done by a priest (as opposed to a Bishop)?

  14. kalless says:

    I purchased a car about 6 months before I needed to. I have no idea what a car will cost 6-12 months from now. I had a cash balance in my life insurance policy to finance it. I’d rather pay myself that back with interest rather than see it evaporate in the stock market, etc.

  15. Lurker 59 says:

    One of the big issues that I have seen with the sundry lists that float around is that they look towards consumable supplies and have little concern with replenishing the stockpile. It doesn’t really matter if you have foodstuffs for one week or 30 if you don’t have a plan or the means on how to restock. If the supply chain goes down, it will have to be rebuilt — it cannot just be turned back on. Consider the sheer amount of produce and livestock that will be lost and the time that it will take to rebuild that for starters.

    Let me also suggest one’s own personal energy stores. Do you have enough energy to live on sub-1200 cal per day rations? And work? Can you do 5 miles a day? Do you have a plan to deal with the stress levels? Do you know how to deal with anxiety, ptsd, and other mental health issues that arrise from having society collapse around you? These things too need to be considered.

    China is going to do what China does: Buy things up on the cheap and focus on the 1000 year plan, not tomorrow.

  16. PeterC says:

    Due to economic situation, nothing much materially, but I did what I could, Father, I went to confession.

  17. APX says:

    Do you have enough energy to live on sub-1200 cal per day rations?

    I guess this is where being overweight comes in handy. Lots of energy stores to access.

  18. BeatifyStickler says:

    As The esteemed Father Z exhorts us so often, we started preparing by GOING TO CONFESSION.
    We moved out of Toronto and headed west to Okotoks Alberta. Moved away from a inflated housing market and was able to save tremendously that way. We have been stocking up on non perishables for the already happening food crisis. I am a truck driver by profession and I predict the supply chain to get significantly worse and relatively fast. Learning to live with less and it’s actually quite liberating.

    To borrow a saying from my Native Newfoundland Canada, “step lively me sons”

  19. Eoin OBolguidhir says:

    A friend who knows recommended an easy preparation that can go a long way: rice and beans. They’re easily stored in bulk and can keep you alive for a long long time.
    You can get a supply that will last for months in your house this very day. After that, you can flesh out your list at leisure.

  20. majuscule says:

    I was preparing before the Covid lockdown—I stocked up and only left the ranch for groceries and Mass during that time. I think (I’ve always been a survivalist.) I had bought some of those 25-year shelf-life freeze dried meals when Covid hit and we still have them. I’d also bought small tubs for my son’s and my nephew’s families. Some of the kits came with potassium iodide tablets in case of the unthinkable. I have some more tablets on the way so more of the family and even neighbors can have some on hand.

    Just the other day my grandkids and I killed and processed a couple of extra roosters who had been harassing the hens. I am so happy the younger folk have learned the skill—that they wanted to learn it. We always have a big veggie garden. And I know ways to preserve instead of freezing in case that becomes problematic.

    I have been avoiding Costco but I think I’d better make a visit for some bulk items—flour, salt…I’d better make a list! I have some solar backup batteries (they call them “generators” but they are not.) I also have two different forms of solar cookers and we already heat with wood from our own trees.

    And I got my amateur radio license. One of my daughters lives in Australia and now she is looking into getting a license too!

    As a family we are so fortunate. And I hope to be able to share whatever we have with those less fortunate.

    PS An elderly cousin left me an interest in some oil and gas leases. They were not paying much but the checks seem to be getting larger. I have no idea what will happen with that—but I look at any income from them as paying for the gas to get to the TLM 30 miles away on a regular basis.

  21. benedetta says:

    As I attend a Ukrainian Catholic parish, I’ve been focused on praying and fasting for Ukraine. I can’t imagine having to pack one suitcase, leave my home and make my way to another country, to return maybe never. I live in an apartment with zero space for prepper supplies, am a social worker for Catholic Charities on a limited income. I plan to offer up what comes.

  22. Antonia D says:

    Besides the most important thing, religious preparation, I have a list of other disaster prep categories that I’ll share in case they might be helpful to someone:

    Aftermath / rebuilding

    BOBs (“Bug-Out Bags”) / camping gear



    Culture & recreation, religious



    Health & medical

    Heat & protection from elements

    Hygiene & sanitation




    Social connections


    Tools & materials



    I have a lot of work to do in many of these categories! Please add to my list if I’ve forgotten a general category. God bless you & yours, all our clergy, and all the people of Ukraine.

  23. Markus says:

    We are on a well, as well. (pun intended). About 15 years ago, I purchased a PVC hand pump and piping to convert well to old fashioned style, in case of a long term emergency. It has to be primed to work by pouring water down it to start. The total cost was under $200, including PVC cement, tubing, etc. You may want to do a search to see what is available today.

  24. Kate says:

    But rice and beans alone are not enough calories to sustain health. (A half and half 1 cup mixture is about 300 calories.) Be sure to incorporate fats. A lot of good calories in a small serving.

  25. Fr. Reader says:

    Sometimes I think about a day in which for whatever reason we cannot use the Internet, or even a computer. Documents, data, books, texts, images. We rely so much on the cloud or digital devices, that one day we might discover we don’t have a physical Bible at home, or some needed legal documents.

  26. surritter says:

    Irish Timothy… I presume you made a typo when mentioning the First Friday and First Saturday devotions. (They are most certainly not deceptions!)

  27. The Astronomer says:

    – Doing the Five First Saturday’s as requested by Our Lady
    – Trying to stay in the state of grace
    – Purchased some gold & silver coins from savings as a hedge against our fiat currency dollars losing further value to inflation
    – stocked up on non perishable food
    – Had a Generac backup generator installed, in case TSHTF before we can move
    – Purchased heirloom non-GMO seeds for our modern-day Victory Garden
    – Purchased appropriate fertilizer for aforementioned garden
    – Purchased a couple of gardening tools from Home Depot
    – Getting ready, in the meantime to get the heck out of the NYC metro area

    I have no crystal ball, but as a former intelligence officer, I knew Putin would go in this time. When reports began emerging back in November 2021 that Russian armored battalions were seen on trains deploying out of the Russian Far East Military District opposite Japan (traveling approx. 6,000 miles), and that they were sending blood plasma to the deployed field hospital units near Ukraine, that clinched it.

    You don’t do those things unless your military is preparing to break a lot of things and kill people.

  28. brasscow says:

    Just ordered a whole home solar and battery backup system. Been working on it and pondering all winter and went for it today. Should be here the end of next week and construction of the array will probably start early next week.

    I’ve been “prepping” for two decades but until this point just had 2000gal buried propane and 2x24kw backup generators. This should allow us to go on indefinitely if we aren’t overrun.

    Farm animals on the docket for late spring or summer.

  29. Our Lady of Good Help says:

    More frequent confession, praying more, additional rosaries each day, reading more about the great saints, martyrs and faith of our fathers, collecting Catholic literature, keep holy water, blessed salt, scapular, blessed medals on me at all times. Have reached out to priests in need to help in any way we can. Purchased 17 acres and farm to be close to traditional priests, which are many in our area. We have stocked our farmhouse with essentials, food, gas, water, coffee, alcohol, ammo, wood burning stove, tinctures, medical supplies, freezers stocked with hog and steer, generator, solar panels, quickly learning gardening on larger scale. Meeting local farmers and those we can barter with at some point.

  30. Vir Qui Timet Dominum says:

    I’m living for the other side.

  31. Irish Timothy says:

    @ surritter – thank you for catching my error! Sorry about that! It should have said ‘devotions’. Stupid thumbs! LOL! Thanks again!

  32. Imrahil says:

    I don’t see the point in desperately trying to survive. Don’t get me wrong; that’s not because I don’t love life, even (perhaps – and of course that particular priorization, but only the priorization, would be wrong – especially) natural life. It’s because I do love life that I don’t particularly value keeping up willingly an existence where “suicide is forbidden” ceases to be something you don’t need to think about, and becomes a burdenous duty you have to remind yourself of, for as many weeks or months or years as possible.

    In fact, the prepping the leading Nazis did for the time “the shit would hit the fan” in their perspective was to have some poison ready, but not for use on others. Now, while it is clear that it was absolutely heinous and absurd to prefer death to living in a Nazi world, in itself this seems to me to be a rather logical idea if you keep in mind they had no Christian (or natural-law) morality. (In Christian morality and natural law, it was of course desertion. But there is a difference between a deserter and a soldier who doesn’t particularly mind being shot by the enemy because he hates war anyway.)

    It makes, however, sense to be able to go through normal-sized quarantine without requiring outside help. I almost was able to do that (though I did get outside help). Garlic powder would be a really good addition, though (can replace onions, and comfort food). It might also make sense to have a case of beer at home (which I happen not to – I prefer patronizing pubs): It can, if need be, replace water, and other than canisters and such, it won’t get bad because it is regularly re-filled (by the owner drinking some and replacing it).

    [Who said “desperately trying to survive”?]

  33. paxbenedict says:

    “Sometimes I think about a day in which for whatever reason we cannot use the Internet, or even a computer. Documents, data, books, texts, images. We rely so much on the cloud or digital devices, that one day we might discover we don’t have a physical Bible at home, or some needed legal documents.”

    Absolutely Father. We need to have physical, hands on copies of the important spiritual writings of our faith. Bibles, breviaries, missals, writings of the saints et al. Apart from the fact these can become inaccessible very quickly if in electronic format it should be obvious that such electronic media can be doctored, words can be changed, the entire meaning of works can be obscured at someone’s whim. Physical copies of sound books are a resource that can be treasured and a sound basis for others learning. They can be banned but they can’t be messed with.

    Essentially we should remember no matter how much you store in the way of foodstuffs you will eventually run out. We need to be growing things and getting networking and closer to our neighbours to support each other. If you can get out of towns and cities, please do so.

    And go to confession.

  34. aegsemje says:

    We bought a small farm a few years ago so that we could raise our own meat. We are planning to get some fruit trees this year.

  35. Gerard Plourde says:

    Pretty much keeping to the tasks that are appointed me and recognizing that Our Lord will provide. “Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.” We are really promised and should expect nothing more.

  36. philosophicallyfrank says:

    What puzzles me is Fatima? Have not three Popes claimed to have consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart: Pope Pius XII, St. Pope Paul VI and St, Pope John Paul II. And it doesn’t appear that Russia has been affected????? And there is enough evidence of the possibility of WWIII resulting from an unelected President with ties to Russia and China. It seems that Putin wants to turn Ukraine into one big pile of rubble and a giant graveyard. it’s an unbelievable barbarism.

  37. Elizabeth D says:

    hmm… living in the middle of the USA rather than on the coasts. Having lots of books in case the internet goes down. Being in walking difference of several different Catholic Churches that have Mass. Living very near a lake so if there is no running water I could get lake water. Going to Confession. Somewhere in my apartment I have 2 expired M.R.E.s squirreled away. Not owning a vehicle. I bought $20 worth of “Ethereum” theoretical money that fluctuates wildly in theoretical value. But, I haven’t done a single one of those things because of any potential disaster.

    Canada could attack and Wisconsin could be toast. House could burn down and there go my books. The availability of Mass in my location is probably one of the more stable factors. Lake could get poisoned and if I don’t have a good ability to distill water then the lake water might not be any good to me. I hope the state of Grace will never depart from me. The M.R.E.s at some point would be too old to be edible. I have never regretted not owning a vehicle, but I suppose if I had to get out of Dodge fast then lacking transportation can become a problem. Pretend money can easily have pretend value.

  38. robin398 says:

    I make confession monthly. Prepping-wise – I have been prepping since July 2020 when others were out protesting, I thought it would be a good time to hit the stores and stock up on food, bottled water. I filled up 5 red plastic cans of gasoline and store them in coolers in the corner of the yard. I did that in December 2020. I encourage people now who haven’t prepped to shop in stores like Target or Walmart where prices are lower. 28 packs of water are a good deal at Target or Walmart. You can shop the Dollar Store for toiletries – toothbrushes, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo and conditioner, deoderant and also canned goods. The Christmas Tree Shoppe is also a good store to buy sunscreen or battery operated candles. They even had canned meat. Also, bought a generator. If we have a cyber attack and it shuts down our electrical grid, buy firewood which you can pick up at the grocery store. We have a 3 month supply at home. We have disposable paper and plastic cutlery. Staples is good for the plastic cutlery. Paper plates and plastic cups. If you need to barter, buy little things like lighters. Mountain House and Ready Hour are good for freeze dried food. Solar items such as solar stoves and chargers are a good thing to order online. You can even buy a solar shower online! I ordered a bag of silver coins for myself and close family members. I collect nickels, dimes and quarters that are 1965 and older. I am collecting pennies now. Also, I ordered the US Army Survival Manual (FM 21-76). Don’t forget your pets! I had bought 13 bags of dog food but my genius older son used it all up. I had the property blessed and bought sacramentals. That being said, I am now moving and half of this stuff is going me.

  39. VeeRas2011 says:

    Not sure if these were mentioned yet… Mummy sleeping bags rated to -10, lots of extra seasoning (salt garlic, etc) because the same emergency food can get bland after a while, books on Foraging for my state, edible nuts, and preparing and cooking wild game, snares to catch small animals, emergency blankets, small solar generator, indoor propane heater and extra propane, vitamin C and Zinc, laxatives, basic medicines and fever reducers, plastic sheets and devices for collecting water, stocking up on holy water, beefing up my in print Catholic library, lots of board and card games (for kids).

  40. VeeRas2011 says:

    Also, I would focus on calorie-rich back up food and fiber. Also nuts have lots of calories for their size. Books on food preservation, lots of salt. Practicing fasting is good on a spiritual level obviously, but it’s good to train your body to go without food for longer periods of everything goes south and you have periods where you have to eat sparingly based on availability.

  41. Sue in soCal says:

    My husband and I are fortunate, through careful planning, in that we have no debt in our retirement. We have some acreage where we garden and raise some livestock. We have a two-body freezer that we stocked with one of our steers. I have canned and dried food from the garden, eggs from the chickens, and a year’s supply of everything that we cannot produce. We have running water on our property and wood stoves for heating and cooking. We’re going hard-core 1850s just in case . . .
    But those are incidentals. The real preparation is for homeless, canceled priests. We are adding two bedrooms and converting another small building to a one-room residence. I have bought a travel-sized chalice, paten, ciborium, and thurible. I have sacramental wine and hosts and incense. I have linen purificators, etc., along with a linen altar cloth. I have a travel size 1962 Roman Missal, a three-volume set of the Roman Ritual for the traditional Roman Rite, a Douay Rheims bible, and I bought two sets of the Baronius Press Liturgy of the Hours from Fr. Z (you never know when you will want to pray/sing in choirs). I have beeswax candles and brass candleholders. I’ve got two beautiful veils to wear given to me by a woman who saw that I was wearing scarves for Mass! If I’ve missed something important in my list, please let me know before we are all underground hiding from our bishops!

  42. matt from az says:

    Here in suburbia, we bought a house with an usually large lot. My wife and mother in law are always working on a large garden (broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, okra, etc.) and we have several citrus trees.
    We are seriously discussing getting chickens.
    I worry about clean water. If the town water goes out, we have a canal down the street, but the water will need treating to make it potable.
    Utility rifle (5.56) and a plinking rifle (.22) just in case.
    Another challenge is the distance to the nearest parish if there is no more gasoline.

  43. Charivari Rob says:

    Well, in some scenarios, I would stay away from the “large freezer” plan because in my small city townhouse – I don’t have a generator. My mother was kicking herself after Hurricane Sandy or some storm a few years ago – freezer stuffed with more food than she normally kept on hand (she shopped extra when the forecast came out so she wouldn’t have to go out in the aftermath), but a week without power meant it had to be used much faster than otherwise would have been needed (or else lost to spoilage).
    I could get a small generator, but capacity to safely store any significant amount of fuel is also lacking. Shelf-stable foods – canned, sealed, dried, raw ingredients – is a better approach for me.
    Mom has the advantage of an actual fireplace in her house for emergency heat and cooking. We don’t have a fireplace, but we do have a charcoal grill in the yard and make a point of keeping charcoal in-stock – even an off-season supply of a couple of large bags. Also, some sterno for some minor indoor pan-heating. Heat would be the bigger issue for us – if some disaster took down the utilities in dead of winter, we would need to bug out fairly soon.

    Fortunately, church is within walking distance.

    Some of the other emergency basics other have mentioned – adjustments based on what the situation is: hunker down, evacuate, car available, shelters…? Weather radio, crank charger for phones & devices, small solar charger, cash, keep meds in stock, supplies for the animals, folding carriers/kennels, sleeping bags, some food and changes of clothes (without weighing yourself down).

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