Pastor’s Wrong Baptism in Michigan Has Domino Effect

For many years, a deacon at St. Anastasia, located in suburban Detroit, says the phrase “we baptize” instead of the supposed “I baptize.”

The Vatican said that the use of the phrase invalidated the sacrament of baptism.

The Diocese of Detroit said they found that about 200 of the sacraments of baptism had been administered correctly and 71 of them had been re-baptized. However, as many as 455 parishioners have not responded despite the church’s efforts to reach them, including through publicity.

One of those affected was a priest, namely Pastor Matthew Hood.

“Well, you can imagine it felt like my world was turned upside down,” he said.

Father Hood, who is now 31 years old, said he first learned about the error he received from the sacrament of baptism.

“My father played back old family videos and one of them was a video of my sacrament of baptism. He sent it to me. I watched the video and thought, the deacon said, ‘we are baptizing.’ It doesn’t say ‘I baptize.’ And I know, as a priest, at least it’s not what it says in the sacrament of baptism,” he said.

He was soon re-baptized and re-ordained a priest in 2020.

The impact on Father Hood extended, not only to his own baptism, but also to the other sacraments including the ordination of a priest. He has administered the sacrament of marriage to at least 30 couples in his first three years as a priest. The 30 couples have again performed the sacrament of marriage.

Baptism day in Guadalajara, Jalisco State, Mexico, on June 23, 2019, as an illustration.  (Photo: AFP)

Baptism day in Guadalajara, Jalisco State, Mexico, on June 23, 2019, as an illustration. (Photo: AFP)

“I expected them to be angry, disappointed and confused. But their reaction was, Pastor Matt, we feel sorry for you. And I tell them, ‘I’m fine. I want to help you deal with this situation,” said Father Matthew Hood.

Pastor Hood, 31, now ministers to Catholic students around Wayne State University in Detroit.

They are the same age as most young people who have not contacted the church for re-baptism.

“The sacrament is the presence of God, the presence of God who is united in our lives. This is not just a ritual that you have to do in the Christian life. But this is something that really changes us, that makes us a Christian. That’s why we want to do it right,” Father Hood added. [lj/uh]