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Return of the Devil: Exorcism's Comeback in the Catholic Church 

Wednesday, Mar 9 2016
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I stepped forward, and reached for Lauriola's hands, clasped in front of his head, which barely reached to my chest. Whether it was out of childhood habit or deference to the people watching me, I closed my eyes as he gripped my hands in his. I was marveling on how strong they were — when something happened. In my hands where his fingers gripped my palms, I felt a buzz, similar to a small electric shock. As he prayed, my mouth went dry, and I tasted something metallic, like old pennies. Before I could ascertain what was happening, it was over. "May Jesus watch over you and guard you," he said. "Amen."

I opened my eyes. He smiled at me for a second, then turned to talk to another parishioner. I walked away, lightheaded, embarrassed, and thoroughly confused, with an enormous grin on my face.

It could have been the furious bike ride up Folsom to get to Mass in time to see the blessings, it could have been the communal support. Whatever it was, I felt good. I was sure I felt good. For that moment, that was all that mattered.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

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Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.

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