Vatican-certified exorcist Father Gary Thomas to speak on exorcisms in the modern world

Erik Petrovich

(Image courtesy Ram Catholic)
(Image courtesy of Ram Catholic.)

Father Gary Thomas, a long-time San Jose, California pastor, took his first Vatican-sponsored course on exorcisms more than 10 years ago.

Since then, he has become the mandated exorcist for San Jose, California and claims to have witnessed multiple “full possessions.” His experiences during exorcism training were the basis for the book “The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist,” which was adapted into the 2011 screenplay “The Rite,” starring Anthony Hopkins.


At 7 p.m. Monday in the Lory Student Center Grand Ballroom, Thomas will present a “deeper look” into the role of the exorcism ritual in the modern day in a talk titled “The Ministry of Exorcisms.” The talk is hosted by Ram Catholic, the CSU Catholic Ministry organization.

“There’s a lot of different exorcisms,” said Leane Tracy, associate director of Ram Catholic. “For example, there’s a denomination called deliverances. They might have a demonic presence upon them, and they might go through a couple steps before the last step — an exorcism.”

An exorcism is defined as the ceremony that seeks to expel an evil spirit from a person or place, according to Tracy said that this definition is not totally correct, however, in that an exorcism is not necessarily a ritual, but a kind of prayer group.

“There are some realistic elements of the presence of good and evil, and a lot of it is embellished by Hollywood, but parts of it are accurate,” Tracy said, on how exorcisms are portrayed in film.

The talk is free and open to the public.

Collegian News Editor Erik Petrovich can be reached at or via Twitter @EAPetrovich.