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Metro Detroit priest’s baptism found invalid due to wrong wording

Priest concerned about those he has married, confessions he heard and blessing made

UTICA, Mich. – A Metro Detroit Catholic priest got an unwelcome and startling bit of news earlier this month.

It turns out he wasn’t a priest after all -- or technically even Catholic.

The Archdiocese of Detroit’s own video and pictures help tell this local priest’s story.

“I watched it and noticed that the deacon where he baptized us said we baptize you in the name of the father, son and holy spirit. I know the matter and form of the words are central to the sacrament and whether it was valid or not,” said Rev. Matthew Hood, St. Lawrence Utica associate pastor.

After emailing the question to one of his seminary instructors about the situation the word came back it was invalid.

The Vatican agreed with the assessment.

Because the deacon who did the baptism did not use the properly approved words the rest of the priest’s spiritual life has been deemed non-existent.

“It was a full range of emotion, shocking at first. What you assumed to be true was not true for so long, assuming myself receiving the grace of the sacraments for 30 years,” he said.

Now he is worried about all those he married, those whose confessions he heard, and the blessings he gave.

But in a couple of weeks time the Archdiocese of Detroit saw to it that he received all the sacraments officially. He went on retreat and the archbishop then properly ordained him.

“I don’t think anyone in this situation acted in bad faith. I think it might have been mistakes that happened in terms of formation and understanding of the Sacrament, but this was a problem when addressed it was ended,” he added.

Hood is 30-years-old, ad has not been a priest long. He was ordained in 2017.

Hood has already reached out to the couples he’s married to have those nuptials made official by the church.

Anyone concerned about their own personal situation is encouraged to contact the Archdiocese of Detroit.

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