Author Topic: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period  (Read 762 times)

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Offline littlepilgrim64

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Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« on: January 28, 2015, 02:26:09 PM »
This is what I am trying to discern right now and was wondering if any of you, when you were coming to the Church, had a similar issue to sort out.

The priest and the friends I am making at the Orthodox church I've been visiting since last spring are wonderful and encouraging.  I learn something new with every liturgy I attend, as well as weekly Bible study. I try to attended liturgy as much as I can, but still am alternating with attending my Protestant church on some Sundays.

Father tells me that there is no rush on this journey and that I should continue to seek the Lord and He will direct me as to when I should ask to want to formally become a catechumen.  Especially over the last month or so friends I have made at church have been asking me if I am going to be joining the church soon, or will invite me to participate with them in various activities at church, etc.  Some are even calling me a catechumen, though I'm not "technically" one.  They have been very warm and welcoming to me, which is great, but I still don't feel ready to make the step yet to finally break off from my Protestant church (though Orthodoxy is certainly winning the "tug of war" that I feel spiritually).  The more people encourage me and include me in things at church, the more I am beginning to feel a pressure to make a decision and I feel I need more time.

However, I've been thinking as well, when converting if it is wiser to either A) Delay becoming a catechumen OR  B) Even though there is much one doesn't understand about the faith and may still be trying to accept (ex. venerating icons) to make that step and become a catechumen and allow your catechumen period to be the time when all of these things will be sorted out.

Thoughts?

"Blind of spiritual eyes, I come to You, O Christ, as did the man blind from his birth, and I cry to You in penitence: Have mercy on me O You who illumine with exceeding brightness those who are in darkness." (The Office of Holy Unction)

Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2015, 02:36:34 PM »
Just for awareness, my Parish doesn't do the 'official' prayers to become a catechumen until the start of the 40 day fast period before reception into the Church. 

That doesn't change other things in terms of your parish life.....

Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2015, 02:41:44 PM »
Don't go into something unless you're ready. Don't let yourself be rash on account of what others do, say or think.

I have been taking a rather moderate approach, but lately that has began to change a bit. So, I think the Priest was correct, let God take you where He wants you to go and don't be in a hurry to get there.
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2015, 03:09:24 PM »
Take your time. Don't rush in. It's a big decision and God's not going anywhere.

Offline Bob2

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2015, 03:33:33 PM »
I feel I need more time.


I think you've answered this for yourself.

I never had the experience you had of people at the church asking if I would be joining soon, I never felt any pressure. It will mean more if you make the decision solely because you want to and feel ready than if you feel pressured like you say. My wife and I attended regularly for almost 3 years before we joined. I wouldn't worry about people calling you a catechumen, because as has been discussed before there are different ways of defining that, in one sense anyone who is taking instruction in the faith is a catechumen. We didn't want to tell our priest that we "officially" wanted to become catechumens until we were 100% sure we wanted to be Orthodox. We were only officially catechumens for 2 or 3 weeks.

Offline littlepilgrim64

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2015, 04:29:28 PM »

I never had the experience you had of people at the church asking if I would be joining soon, I never felt any pressure. It will mean more if you make the decision solely because you want to and feel ready than if you feel pressured like you say.

Just to clarify, I'm feeling a pressure coming from within me (maybe that I place on myself) that I need to examine my journey as a result of people at church encouraging me, asking if I'm going to join, including me in activities, etc. even though I don't feel ready. They are just being warm and welcoming, not that I feel an outward pressure coming from them directly to join the church, ya know?  Continuing to pray.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 04:30:04 PM by littlepilgrim64 »
"Blind of spiritual eyes, I come to You, O Christ, as did the man blind from his birth, and I cry to You in penitence: Have mercy on me O You who illumine with exceeding brightness those who are in darkness." (The Office of Holy Unction)

Offline Thomas

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2015, 06:08:04 PM »
My personal experience is that the Greek Orthodox in North America generally do not make a person a Catechumen until they are ready to enter the church, ours was done all in the same service as our Chrismation. Many Jurisdictions, including the one I currently attend (Antiochian) do provide a catechumenate with a reasonable wait while the catechumen are learning the faith. The one advantage is that if a Catechumen dies unexpectedly, s/he will be buried as an Orthodox Christian whereas the inquirer is not.
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Offline biro

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2015, 06:13:52 PM »
I had a very long inquiry period. It all worked out in the end.

Offline mike

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2015, 06:23:02 PM »
I had a very long inquiry period. It all worked out in the end.

Including your apostasy in the meantime.
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Offline biro

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2015, 06:26:29 PM »
I had a very long inquiry period. It all worked out in the end.

Including your apostasy in the meantime.

 ???

Offline mike

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2015, 06:27:26 PM »
I had a very long inquiry period. It all worked out in the end.

Including your apostasy in the meantime.

 ???

IIRC after becoming Orthodox you reverted back to Catholic Church and then BOOM back Orthodox again.
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Offline biro

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2015, 06:30:13 PM »
I had a very long inquiry period. It all worked out in the end.

Including your apostasy in the meantime.

 ???

IIRC after becoming Orthodox you reverted back to Catholic Church and then BOOM back Orthodox again.

WRONG. In about 2012, I did get tired and depressed for a while, and changed my faith name on this forum. But I haven't set foot in a Roman Catholic Church since 2010. I was chrismated at St. George Greek Orthodox Church on Sep. 29, 2013. I still attend the same parish.

Offline mike

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2015, 06:35:59 PM »
I had a very long inquiry period. It all worked out in the end.

Including your apostasy in the meantime.

 ???

IIRC after becoming Orthodox you reverted back to Catholic Church and then BOOM back Orthodox again.

WRONG. In about 2012, I did get tired and depressed for a while, and changed my faith name on this forum. But I haven't set foot in a Roman Catholic Church since 2010. I was chrismated at St. George Greek Orthodox Church on Sep. 29, 2013. I still attend the same parish.

Whatever.
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Offline biro

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2015, 06:38:33 PM »
I had a very long inquiry period. It all worked out in the end.

Including your apostasy in the meantime.

 ???

IIRC after becoming Orthodox you reverted back to Catholic Church and then BOOM back Orthodox again.

WRONG. In about 2012, I did get tired and depressed for a while, and changed my faith name on this forum. But I haven't set foot in a Roman Catholic Church since 2010. I was chrismated at St. George Greek Orthodox Church on Sep. 29, 2013. I still attend the same parish.

Whatever.

The correct phrase is "I'm sorry."

Offline mike

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2015, 06:44:58 PM »
I had a very long inquiry period. It all worked out in the end.

Including your apostasy in the meantime.

 ???

IIRC after becoming Orthodox you reverted back to Catholic Church and then BOOM back Orthodox again.

WRONG. In about 2012, I did get tired and depressed for a while, and changed my faith name on this forum. But I haven't set foot in a Roman Catholic Church since 2010. I was chrismated at St. George Greek Orthodox Church on Sep. 29, 2013. I still attend the same parish.

Whatever.

The correct phrase is "I'm sorry."

sorry for treating what you wrote on the forum as true. Won't make that mistake anymore.
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Offline kelly

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2015, 08:44:35 PM »
I had a very long inquiry period. It all worked out in the end.

Including your apostasy in the meantime.

 ::)

Even if she did, so what? What does it matter as long as she repented and came back?
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Offline mike

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2015, 08:47:28 PM »
I had a very long inquiry period. It all worked out in the end.

Including your apostasy in the meantime.

 ::)

Even if she did, so what? What does it matter as long as she repented and came back?

That prolonging the inquirer period won't guarantee 100% success.
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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2015, 08:48:42 PM »
I had a very long inquiry period. It all worked out in the end.

Including your apostasy in the meantime.

 ::)

Even if she did, so what? What does it matter as long as she repented and came back?

That prolonging the inquirer period won't guarantee 100% success.


and neither does being cradle guarantee 100% success.

your point?

Offline kelly

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2015, 08:49:17 PM »
I had a very long inquiry period. It all worked out in the end.

Including your apostasy in the meantime.

 ::)

Even if she did, so what? What does it matter as long as she repented and came back?

That prolonging the inquirer period won't guarantee 100% success.

Who said it did?
"But we must live in the world, having peace in our soul. We must live amidst strangers; we must suffer, struggle, and firmly believe. We must seek our consolation in prayer and not doubt the love and compassion of God. He is above everyone and everything."

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Offline Thomas

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2015, 11:45:28 PM »
Moderation note:
 Please play nice guys this is convert issues, not free for all. 
Thomas
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Offline WPM

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2015, 11:59:35 PM »
I think the long-term catchumenate is a better choice because conversion doesn't happen overnight but instead with passage of time.

Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2015, 01:10:46 PM »
You must, of course, do what is best, following your priest's advice. I was in a similar situation, attending both churches, but straddling the fence is not only uncomfortable, but eventually impossible. The differences were too strong. Pascha vs. Easter in a Protestant church? Holy Week in the Orthodox Church compared to Holy Week in a Lutheran church? No contest.
Sooner rather than later, it may be time to fish or cut bait. YMMV, of course.
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Offline littlepilgrim64

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2015, 01:52:34 PM »
Thanks, guys, for sharing your stories and the advice offered!

Thomas ~ If I remember correctly, I do believe Father told me something similar to what you mentioned, that once I'd become a catechumen it is possible that I would be received into the Church a short time after that.  I guess every situation is different.

Katherine ~ As I'm slowly transitioning out of my Protestant church, I am noticing the longer I do this back and forth deal of "living in two worlds" the differences are becoming more marked.  A lot of the time when I'm sitting listening to the minister give his sermon I'll zone out and wonder where in the Divine Liturgy they are at across town and picture it in my head.  I have yet to experience Holy Week and Pascha in the Orthodox Church and it just may be that, after that season, I will have a greater sense of when to cut ties with my old church.  Going to keep praying and seeking direction from Father.

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Offline littlepilgrim64

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2015, 10:13:42 AM »
Guys,

Since Pascha, some very well meaning friends of mine at church have turned the heat up about me joining. Again, as I've mentioned previously, everyone has been very welcoming and very encouraging to me throughout the time I've been with them.  It makes me uncomfortable, though, as I feel that certain friends of mine at church are "pressuring me to get married" when I'm not ready.  They don't seem to get it when I tell them (over and over) that I'm not ready, and it's really starting to irritate me, to be honest.  I was even thinking this morning of not attending liturgy for the next few Sundays just to "step back" for a while, but then thought "No" - that is what the enemy would want me to do to, so I will be going to church on Sunday.  Continued prayers please!
"Blind of spiritual eyes, I come to You, O Christ, as did the man blind from his birth, and I cry to You in penitence: Have mercy on me O You who illumine with exceeding brightness those who are in darkness." (The Office of Holy Unction)

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2015, 10:31:11 AM »
I had a very long inquiry period. It all worked out in the end.

Including your apostasy in the meantime.

 ???

IIRC after becoming Orthodox you reverted back to Catholic Church and then BOOM back Orthodox again.

In my catechumenate period (I was never officially made a catechumen) I had some waverings too. I think that's natural. I was inquiring off and on for about 3 years before I was finally baptized. I don't know if that counts as "apostasy" since I wasn't fully initiated yet. In any case you don't need to be a jerk about it.

Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2015, 05:57:16 PM »
Guys,

Since Pascha, some very well meaning friends of mine at church have turned the heat up about me joining. Again, as I've mentioned previously, everyone has been very welcoming and very encouraging to me throughout the time I've been with them.  It makes me uncomfortable, though, as I feel that certain friends of mine at church are "pressuring me to get married" when I'm not ready.  They don't seem to get it when I tell them (over and over) that I'm not ready, and it's really starting to irritate me, to be honest.  I was even thinking this morning of not attending liturgy for the next few Sundays just to "step back" for a while, but then thought "No" - that is what the enemy would want me to do to, so I will be going to church on Sunday.  Continued prayers please!

A couple of thoughts: is it possible that it's kindly meant, that your friends think they are being encouraging rather than annoying? And secondly is it time for you to fish or cut bait? Sometimes we do need a little push. Sometimes there isn't a perfect time  or place - we may still have 'issues' but need to work them and our salvation out within the Church.

And just fwiw, one thing I've been learning from being Orthodox is that when I get a little irked, angry, frustrated or impatient with people, it's more often me and not them . YMMV of course.
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Offline littlepilgrim64

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2015, 09:39:23 PM »
A couple of thoughts: is it possible that it's kindly meant, that your friends think they are being encouraging rather than annoying? And secondly is it time for you to fish or cut bait? Sometimes we do need a little push. Sometimes there isn't a perfect time  or place - we may still have 'issues' but need to work them and our salvation out within the Church.

And just fwiw, one thing I've been learning from being Orthodox is that when I get a little irked, angry, frustrated or impatient with people, it's more often me and not them . YMMV of course.

Oh, I know that it's kindly meant when friends ask, "So are you going to join the Church soon?" and it's out of love and them wanting me to become part of their family.  I recognize that I am the one with the attitude problem in getting "irritated" over their loving "push" to join the Church.  Whenever I'm at church for liturgy I feel in my heart that it is home and where God wants me to be, but then my head kicks in and I start thinking about issues or points of theology that I might be stuck on and I allow it to derail me and my progress forward. 

I so appreciate your comments about ones attitude!! Lord forgive me for how I've been thinking and my attitude!  These are a group of loving brothers and sisters wanting to embrace me in the faith and here I am pushing them away.  I didn't realize I was doing that by keeping a constant stance of "I'm not ready", but I can see this now.  Yes, I've been praying for the Lord's direction, but I've also been holding on to "self" and the feeling that I need to come to a point where I understand "x" amount of doctrine in order to feel that I can confidently say to Father, "I want to become Orthodox".  I've been trusting in "self" instead of trusting the Lord - jumping into the water and trusting that He will catch me and that He (through the Church) will teach me how to swim!
« Last Edit: May 21, 2015, 09:42:17 PM by littlepilgrim64 »
"Blind of spiritual eyes, I come to You, O Christ, as did the man blind from his birth, and I cry to You in penitence: Have mercy on me O You who illumine with exceeding brightness those who are in darkness." (The Office of Holy Unction)

Offline gzt

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2015, 04:11:29 PM »
I would definitely class "are you converting soon" as a rude question, but inviting you to church events is something that is reasonable for people who are often present (and even uninterested friendly neighbors).

As for becoming a catechumen: this really depends on what it means in your parish, as others have noted that it varies slightly. I would note that you can undergo some catechesis without being a catechumen and priests generally consider the time you've been regularly attending as "time served", as it were, when figuring out how long you need to be around before being received into the Church, so the "cost" of not being a catechumen yet if you do eventually convert is little "wasted" time. Whereas there is some cost to becoming a catechumen and not going through with it.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2015, 04:11:59 PM by gzt »

Offline CarolS

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Re: Delay becoming a catechumen vs. a lengthy catechumen period
« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2015, 05:08:11 PM »
No one should convert to appease other people, it has to be right for you. On the other hand, people who wait till they understand everything perfectly are making a mistake. I've been Orthodox for 38 years now and would not presume that I understand all theology perfectly. However, I did reach a point, after one and a half years as an inquirerer, that I knew I didn't want to be on the sideline any more. Orthodoxy had become for me better than any other faith I had tried out. I asked God to help me with aspects that were difficult to accept as a former Protestant, an took the leap.