WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 18, 2010, 09:07 AM

Local priests learn about exorcism and how to perform it

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - We ask our pastors to pray for us, give us communion, baptize, and confirm us. Now, Bishop Aquila and a local Catholic priest are back from a nationwide training conference on how to fight "The Devil." All dioceses from across the country sent 100 Bishops and Priests to get an education, about exorcism, and how to perform it.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Growing up in Lisbon, North Dakota, Father Luke Meyer never imagined his career as a priest might involve taking phone calls about exorcisms.

“I've had calls in the last couple of years to the bishop's office there have been investigations here in eastern North Dakota.”

But as chancellor to the Bishop it is now part of the job.

FATHER LUKE MEYERChancellor-Fargo Diocese: “There has to be careful discernment, but there are cases where this is a need for prayer of healing and deliverance. But in real extreme cases, the full rite of exorcism has to be used.”

Bishop Aquila and a local priest just returned from a national two day conference on how to fight the devil and how to properly conduct an exorcism.

“There are ways to determine if it is an authentic case or mental illness manifesting itself with this behavior.”

It is not that we are seeing a dramatic increase in exorcisms here at home or nationwide. It is just there are so few priests and bishops who conduct the ritual.

“We don't publicize who is in charge because it could be a sensational thing.”

The church would much rather forget about the Hollywood version of this. The graphic exorcism movie is still gripping and horrifying to watch. Anyone who comes to Fargo Catholic Diocese who comes for an exorcism is carefully screened. If medical exams, exhaustive prayer and confession still reveal a need, exorcism is then an option.

“Pull out the full rite of exorcism that many of the spiritual issues people dabbling with the occult and relationship and pacts with evil spirits. That is very real.”

Even at St. Anne and Joachim in south Fargo, stained glass windows reveal the fight against evil, as do statutes. St. Michael is fighting the beast, the monster, the dragon, the devil, and the father of lies. For thousands of years, from Christ until today, there have been attempts to rid evil from our fellow man.

This church of angels is attempting to defeat the one angel who fell. The Vatican actually employs a "Chief Exorcist", who says he has witnessed people choking up nails and shards of glass.