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fasteddy64
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« on: January 11, 2012, 01:39:16 PM »

We are new Catechumens (praise God).
This Monday our Parish Priest is coming by our house on Monday to bless it and I am a bit nervous about the etiquitte involved. How do I greet him when he comes to the door? What do I do when he leaves?
What else should I expect during the visit?
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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2012, 02:00:11 PM »

You greet the priest by kissing his right hand, the hand that blesses.  How is he typically greeted in the parish, "Hello Father," or "Father, bless?"  If anything is expected of you, the church should have told you, like perhaps, having a bowel of water available and an icon in front of it.  Why don't you call the church office and ask if anything is expected, ask a parish council member on Sunday, or ask the priest.  Kiss his hand again as he leaves; typically a gratuity is expected for a home visit. A priest visiting the home of catechumens will not be expecting much preparation knowing of your lack of experience.
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2012, 02:02:28 PM »

Thanks, mine is coming by Tuesday and I had the same question Smiley

PP
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2012, 02:03:07 PM »

How do I greet him when he comes to the door?

Usually a "Hi, Father ________, it's great to see you!" suffices. Feel free to venerate his hand if you are comfortable doing so.


What do I do when he leaves?


Go about and live your life, striving to love others to the best of your ability. You know, that Christian thing we're supposed to be doing.


What else should I expect during the visit?


Small talk, especially about how and why you want to enter the Church; maybe another description of the steps involved in this process and where y'all are at. Maybe some coffee and/or cookies.

Hopefully your parish will have provided a 'summary sheet' of what usually helps a priest when he is preparing to bless a home: an icon, a bowl of water, a candle, etc. No priest ever counts on that sheet actually being followed, so it is no biggie if you don't have some of the items listed...probably your priest will have the items anyway.
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2012, 02:30:59 PM »


Just a few thoughts:

-Close the doors of any rooms you don't want the priest to bless.
-Turn off all radios and TV's.
-Have a candle (matches) placed in a central location of your home, with an icon...this is where you will pray.
-You should give him a "gift" for stopping by.  This is usually in the form of cash.
-Also offer coffee and something to eat.  Sometimes, if the priest has time, he will love to stay and chat.  However, if he rushes off, don't take it personally.  He probably has       
  another dozen houses to visit before he goes home that evening.
-I always have a list of names I would like for him to pray for.
-One more thing....we are usually told to lock our pets away while he blesses the house.

That's all.

Don't worry too much.  It'll be fine.  Don't put too much pressure upon yourself.

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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2012, 02:33:59 PM »

I think most everything's been covered. The only other things I can think of is: have lights on in the rooms you want blessed if it's dark, and be prepared to serve food but don't assume anything (ie. don't make a ton of stuff expecting him to stay, because he might not, or he might just not want to eat because if he ate at every stop during house blessings he'd put on 30 pounds).

Btw, congrats on your catechumenates Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2012, 03:47:54 PM »

-You should give him a "gift" for stopping by.  This is usually in the form of cash.
How much? There's not exactly a value on house blessings that one can take 15-20% of.  Wink
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2012, 03:51:37 PM »

-You should give him a "gift" for stopping by.  This is usually in the form of cash.
How much? There's not exactly a value on house blessings that one can take 15-20% of.  Wink
I was thinkin 10-15? Too little? Too much?

PP
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2012, 04:04:22 PM »

Thank you to everyone for your replies.
Unfortunately our church does not have an office or staff, and my Priest has a "day job" as a professor at a local university so I hate to bother him. I have no idea who is on the parish council either.

I would like to know what you would consider an appropriate gift amount.
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2012, 04:12:19 PM »

Fwiw--and this isn't necessarily for the OP, but just for anyone it applies to--you can also give a gift other than money. Maybe your priest loves a certain author and has been having trouble getting ahold of a certain book, or maybe you just think he'd really enjoy a certain item. You can match the gift/donation to what best meets the priests needs and/or wants.
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2012, 04:51:10 PM »

-You should give him a "gift" for stopping by.  This is usually in the form of cash.
How much? There's not exactly a value on house blessings that one can take 15-20% of.  Wink
I was thinkin 10-15? Too little? Too much?

PP

I tried giving our priest some cash when he blessed our house but he refused.

This year, I am going to try and get him something tasty to take home.
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2012, 04:58:08 PM »

First - call or email your priest and tell him you have no idea what to expect and ask him what you need to have ready for him.  If he's no help, call Matushka or a deacon or someone you know from the parish.  

You should have holy water that the priest blessed on Theophany.  This is what he will use to bless your house.  A bowl for it to go in.  And  a list of names of those who live in the house so he can pray for your family by name.  A candle and matches.  That's really all you need for the blessing.  My priest also likes to bless all the beds as well as rooms. (including bathrooms and laundry).  

I usually give my priest about $25-30.  But, it might depend on where you live too.   I would think that if it's a mission parish and the priest has full-time job outside of the church, the parish is probably not able to pay him much. Giving him something with that in mind might help you a bit.    I look at it as a honorarium rather than gratuity.    Ask your priest if he has other houses to go to after yours.  
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2012, 05:02:25 PM »

Fwiw--and this isn't necessarily for the OP, but just for anyone it applies to--you can also give a gift other than money. Maybe your priest loves a certain author and has been having trouble getting ahold of a certain book, or maybe you just think he'd really enjoy a certain item. You can match the gift/donation to what best meets the priests needs and/or wants.

Honestly...there is no requirement for a cash gift. Much anguish is spent over this item, and I know of a few cases where folks have not had their house blessed out of concern that they will not seem to be sufficiently gracious. Give what you feel the Lord is calling you to give.

Some Greek families practice the podi tradition, where the first person to step into the house after a certain date receives whatever money may be in their pockets. Many Roma families practice a similar tradition.

In the past, I have received game animals, baked goods, chestnuts, and/or money. The only time I ever had to turn something down was when the families offered me furry pets such as a puppy or kittens. I have given folks gifts when it is obvious that they are having a hard time and need some help.

The point of my meandering message is that the gift is not what is given to the priest, but the real gift is what stays in the house after the priest leaves. Nothing else matters, so please don't give it any thought.
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2012, 06:43:47 PM »

Quote
-One more thing....we are usually told to lock our pets away while he blesses the house.

A small but quite important point. It doesn't take much imagination to work out what a cat's reaction to being sprayed by a horsehair brush soaked in holy water will be ....  laugh
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2012, 06:49:15 PM »

Our cat has received a sprinkling by different priests during house blessings. I was both surprised and pleased the first time it happened. He sleeps through it, so he hasn't seemed to be affected either way.  Grin
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2012, 06:54:28 PM »

We are new Catechumens (praise God).
This Monday our Parish Priest is coming by our house on Monday to bless it and I am a bit nervous about the etiquitte involved. How do I greet him when he comes to the door? What do I do when he leaves?
What else should I expect during the visit?


Just be a normal, joyous Christian. There really is not any obligatory stuffy protocol. You can ask for his blessing. (If you aren't sure how, ask him--he'll be glad to assist; that's his job!) Some people serve coffee/food. It depends on how much time the priest has. It's good to ask in advance if he'd be able/willing to stay a bit afterwards. It's a good time to spend with your priest in a more relaxed environment. Whereever you have your icons will be a focus of attention for the house blessing--it usually begins and ends there. Sometimes the owner of the house proceeds the priest with a lighted candle, opening doors and turning on lights for him. Expect a lot of holy water to be flung everywhere. This is good! There's also singing of the troparion for Theophany.

I wish you blessings on your first house blessing.
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« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2012, 06:57:30 PM »

-You should give him a "gift" for stopping by.  This is usually in the form of cash.
How much? There's not exactly a value on house blessings that one can take 15-20% of.  Wink

Not all priests expect/desire monetary gifts. We don't frequently do this at my church, for example. Baptisms, weddings, funerals maybe I suppose, but this would seem awkward to me.
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2012, 07:27:31 PM »

Our cat has received a sprinkling by different priests during house blessings. I was both surprised and pleased the first time it happened. He sleeps through it, so he hasn't seemed to be affected either way.  Grin

You're lucky you have a laid-back dude of a cat. They're very thin on the ground. All but one or two of the cats I've had over the past decade or four would freak at the sight and effect of a burly bearded fellow flinging a wet brush in all directions.  laugh laugh
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« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2012, 08:40:55 PM »

How do I greet him when he comes to the door?

Usually a "Hi, Father ________, it's great to see you!" suffices. Feel free to venerate his hand if you are comfortable doing so.


What do I do when he leaves?


Go about and live your life, striving to love others to the best of your ability. You know, that Christian thing we're supposed to be doing.


What else should I expect during the visit?


Small talk, especially about how and why you want to enter the Church; maybe another description of the steps involved in this process and where y'all are at. Maybe some coffee and/or cookies.

Hopefully your parish will have provided a 'summary sheet' of what usually helps a priest when he is preparing to bless a home: an icon, a bowl of water, a candle, etc. No priest ever counts on that sheet actually being followed, so it is no biggie if you don't have some of the items listed...probably your priest will have the items anyway.

Great advice - every priest could write a book about house blessing experiences. I remember going with my father as a boy to sing the responses - you saw everything! I remember particularly one pious wife whose husband was, shall we say, impious. She was mortified as he wouldn't leave the house. He was on the couch, obviously three sheets to the wind, needed a shave and didn't move. Needless to say, he got an extra dose of Holy Water as the room was blessed! Kids, dogs messy rooms, spotless rooms, a veritable banquet or not a drop of water offered....I could go on and on but you get the idea!
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« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2012, 09:43:17 PM »

Unless you greet the priest in full ethnic dress with bread and salt in hand, it is not a true house blessing!









(Just kidding!!  Tongue  Cheesy  Cheesy  Cheesy )
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« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2012, 09:49:58 PM »

Money Is the Best Gift Though ....Put it in a envelope ,Hand it to the Father And Tell Him ,Some thing for Your Personnel Use ,If Married For You ,And Your Family....$40. or 60.00 Donation seem good .. If He Refuses it ,tell him that your giving it for the Church  ,then he will take it... police
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« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2012, 09:53:41 PM »

Our cat has received a sprinkling by different priests during house blessings. I was both surprised and pleased the first time it happened. He sleeps through it, so he hasn't seemed to be affected either way.  Grin

You're lucky you have a laid-back dude of a cat. They're very thin on the ground. All but one or two of the cats I've had over the past decade or four would freak at the sight and effect of a burly bearded fellow flinging a wet brush in all directions.  laugh laugh

 laugh As long as he receives regular votive offerings and has his litter tray pristine as soon as it is soiled, he's pretty easy going.
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« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2012, 10:34:23 PM »

Money Is the Best Gift Though ....Put it in a envelope ,Hand it to the Father And Tell Him ,Some thing for Your Personnel Use ,If Married For You ,And Your Family....$40. or 60.00 Donation seem good .. If He Refuses it ,tell him that your giving it for the Church  ,then he will take it... police

$ 40 or $60 bucks? Serbians must be a heck of a lot more generous than Carpatho-Russians. Wow - my father would have passed out with that sort of gift! Wink
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« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2012, 10:58:53 PM »

I Don't mean to Brag ,But we are, We do support our Church and Clergy...... police

Serbs are alway's building a Beautiful Church where ever there located, .....That wouldn't happen, if we where tight with the purse strings.... police
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« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2012, 11:16:35 PM »

Quote
-One more thing....we are usually told to lock our pets away while he blesses the house.

A small but quite important point. It doesn't take much imagination to work out what a cat's reaction to being sprayed by a horsehair brush soaked in holy water will be ....  laugh

I always blessed every animal in the house whenever doing this. No animal ever ran away; most walked up to me and just stared at me. The owners of the home were ususally more skittish than the animals!  Cheesy

My favorites were always when kids were in the house! They were always such willing helpers, holding my books or incense or candles, and pointing out their bikes or other possessions of theirs. The kids often 'got it' better than the adults; maybe this is because kids understand how threatening the world can be and therefore we need help while adults fool ourselves into thinking we canhandle everything alone.

If I may make a suggestion: the priest should never be alone. Once I was lost and called ahead to let the owners know that I would be delayed, maybe 15 minutes. The lady of the house said that would be fine.

When I showed up, the lady was wearing only a towel. Her husband was not in the house, and she said she had just come out of the shower....but her hair was completely dry. She did say that the family icons were all ready for me...in the bedroom.

I left, saying that an emergency had come up. The next time I was there I verified that her husband would be present, and I brought a companion of my own just in case.

Weird things happen out there, so never let the priest be alone with any person, please!
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« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2012, 11:28:19 PM »

My favorites were always when kids were in the house! They were always such willing helpers, holding my books or incense or candles, and pointing out their bikes or other possessions of theirs. The kids often 'got it' better than the adults; maybe this is because kids understand how threatening the world can be and therefore we need help while adults fool ourselves into thinking we canhandle everything alone.

I think my daughter Sahara was about 2 when she experienced her first house blessing. Father hit her with water in the face, and she didn't want anything to do with him after that  Cheesy
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« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2012, 11:33:21 PM »

Quote
-One more thing....we are usually told to lock our pets away while he blesses the house.

A small but quite important point. It doesn't take much imagination to work out what a cat's reaction to being sprayed by a horsehair brush soaked in holy water will be ....  laugh

I always blessed every animal in the house whenever doing this. No animal ever ran away; most walked up to me and just stared at me. The owners of the home were ususally more skittish than the animals!  Cheesy

My favorites were always when kids were in the house! They were always such willing helpers, holding my books or incense or candles, and pointing out their bikes or other possessions of theirs. The kids often 'got it' better than the adults; maybe this is because kids understand how threatening the world can be and therefore we need help while adults fool ourselves into thinking we canhandle everything alone.

If I may make a suggestion: the priest should never be alone. Once I was lost and called ahead to let the owners know that I would be delayed, maybe 15 minutes. The lady of the house said that would be fine.

When I showed up, the lady was wearing only a towel. Her husband was not in the house, and she said she had just come out of the shower....but her hair was completely dry. She did say that the family icons were all ready for me...in the bedroom.

I left, saying that an emergency had come up. The next time I was there I verified that her husband would be present, and I brought a companion of my own just in case.

Weird things happen out there, so never let the priest be alone with any person, please!
Rodney Dangerfield indeed. Almost became Benny Hill. Good exit, Father!
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« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2012, 12:55:16 AM »

Quote
-One more thing....we are usually told to lock our pets away while he blesses the house.

A small but quite important point. It doesn't take much imagination to work out what a cat's reaction to being sprayed by a horsehair brush soaked in holy water will be ....  laugh

I always blessed every animal in the house whenever doing this. No animal ever ran away; most walked up to me and just stared at me. The owners of the home were ususally more skittish than the animals!  Cheesy

My favorites were always when kids were in the house! They were always such willing helpers, holding my books or incense or candles, and pointing out their bikes or other possessions of theirs. The kids often 'got it' better than the adults; maybe this is because kids understand how threatening the world can be and therefore we need help while adults fool ourselves into thinking we canhandle everything alone.

If I may make a suggestion: the priest should never be alone. Once I was lost and called ahead to let the owners know that I would be delayed, maybe 15 minutes. The lady of the house said that would be fine.

When I showed up, the lady was wearing only a towel. Her husband was not in the house, and she said she had just come out of the shower....but her hair was completely dry. She did say that the family icons were all ready for me...in the bedroom.

I left, saying that an emergency had come up. The next time I was there I verified that her husband would be present, and I brought a companion of my own just in case.

Weird things happen out there, so never let the priest be alone with any person, please!

She might have used a shower cap to keep her hair dry, Father. <snigger>  laugh Looks like you had a lucky escape!
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« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2012, 01:44:53 AM »

Quote
-One more thing....we are usually told to lock our pets away while he blesses the house.

A small but quite important point. It doesn't take much imagination to work out what a cat's reaction to being sprayed by a horsehair brush soaked in holy water will be ....  laugh

I always blessed every animal in the house whenever doing this. No animal ever ran away; most walked up to me and just stared at me. The owners of the home were ususally more skittish than the animals!  Cheesy

My favorites were always when kids were in the house! They were always such willing helpers, holding my books or incense or candles, and pointing out their bikes or other possessions of theirs. The kids often 'got it' better than the adults; maybe this is because kids understand how threatening the world can be and therefore we need help while adults fool ourselves into thinking we canhandle everything alone.

If I may make a suggestion: the priest should never be alone. Once I was lost and called ahead to let the owners know that I would be delayed, maybe 15 minutes. The lady of the house said that would be fine.

When I showed up, the lady was wearing only a towel. Her husband was not in the house, and she said she had just come out of the shower....but her hair was completely dry. She did say that the family icons were all ready for me...in the bedroom.

I left, saying that an emergency had come up. The next time I was there I verified that her husband would be present, and I brought a companion of my own just in case.

Weird things happen out there, so never let the priest be alone with any person, please!

A friend of mine, a UPS driver, had a similar experience a few years ago. He stayed for a snack.  Wink
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« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2012, 03:01:39 AM »

I would recommend a $20.00 gratuity, but all the suggestions above are in the range.  However, if you find this amount too high, your priest will understand whatever you can afford to offer him.  The list of names of those who reside in the household mentioned above, is important too.  (I suggest you use Christian names, also, the extent to which you can, but avoid informal names, i.e. "Robert," vs. "Bob" or "Anastasia" vs. "Stassa.")
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« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2012, 04:32:45 AM »

I'm glad this question was asked and received so many responses as I have been having mild anxiety about having our home blessed this year.  I feel terribly guilty that we've only had our home blessed once in 11 years due to this anxiety.   Sad  My husband fondly remembers when he was a child and the priest would come over and stay to see his train set and maybe sit and chat for a little while after the blessing, and I feel badly that I haven't provided such an experience for my own children due to silly fears.  Now that we're Orthodox (DH and children were previously Byzantine Catholic, I was an RC, but BC tagalong) and we have a priest that we feel more comfortable around, I'm determined to ask him to come over to bless the house.  And thanks to this thread, I'll remember to crate the dog.   Cheesy
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« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2012, 07:26:26 PM »

Let your priest know if you have pets. 

This year we forgot to remind our priest about our cat and when he realised we had one, he quickly took his allergy pill. 
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« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2012, 08:17:06 PM »

Can a house blessing be done for an apartment?
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« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2012, 08:18:44 PM »

Our cat has received a sprinkling by different priests during house blessings. I was both surprised and pleased the first time it happened. He sleeps through it, so he hasn't seemed to be affected either way.  Grin

Your cat is holy!
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« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2012, 08:19:21 PM »

Can a house blessing be done for an apartment?

Of course! Why not?
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« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2012, 08:22:29 PM »

Can a house blessing be done for an apartment?

Of course! Why not?

I had only heard of the house visit before. It'll be good if I can get an apartment someday soon.  Smiley. Thanks.
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« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2012, 08:24:43 PM »

I would recommend a $20.00 gratuity, but all the suggestions above are in the range.
Father,

Oh. I was assuming it was going to be something absurd, in the hundreds.

Also, here is something to have fun with:

http://www.assumptionlb.org/download/baptism_fees.pdf

Just like U.S. University tuition hiking up for out-of-state, then out-of-country students.
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« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2012, 10:40:17 PM »

Would a priest bless a college dorm?
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« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2012, 10:43:19 PM »

Would a priest bless a college dorm?

Yes. I have done so in the past as part of an OCF activity. Works really well!

Prison cells can also be blessed, as well as workplaces.

Can I ask a question: why is there a perception that the need to bless a space is dependent upon its size?

Is there an understanding out there that the Holy Spirit cannot fit in certain areas?  Tongue
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« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2012, 10:45:03 PM »

Would a priest bless a college dorm?

Yes. I have done so in the past as part of an OCF activity. Works really well!

Prison cells can also be blessed, as well as workplaces.

Can I ask a question: why is there a perception that the need to bless a space is dependent upon its size?

Is there an understanding out there that the Holy Spirit cannot fit in certain areas?  Tongue

Maybe some people have the impression that certain evil and dirty and nasty places can't be blessed, like bathrooms, or college dorm rooms Wink
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« Reply #40 on: January 12, 2012, 10:47:51 PM »

Would a priest bless a college dorm?

Yes. I have done so in the past as part of an OCF activity. Works really well!

Prison cells can also be blessed, as well as workplaces.

Can I ask a question: why is there a perception that the need to bless a space is dependent upon its size?

Is there an understanding out there that the Holy Spirit cannot fit in certain areas?  Tongue

Maybe some people have the impression that certain evil and dirty and nasty places can't be blessed, like bathrooms, or college dorm rooms Wink

Well, if a place is dirty and evil, then I can't think of a better reason to bless that space...

But then again, I have been accused of being 'out of step' with the thinking of others.
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« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2012, 12:05:47 AM »

Would a priest bless a college dorm?

Yes. I have done so in the past as part of an OCF activity. Works really well!

Prison cells can also be blessed, as well as workplaces.

Can I ask a question: why is there a perception that the need to bless a space is dependent upon its size?

Is there an understanding out there that the Holy Spirit cannot fit in certain areas?  Tongue

Thanks, Father.

Do you think it'd be a bad idea to get a dorm blessed if one's roomate used it for unwholesome activities?
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« Reply #42 on: January 13, 2012, 12:32:37 AM »

Would a priest bless a college dorm?

Yes. I have done so in the past as part of an OCF activity. Works really well!

Prison cells can also be blessed, as well as workplaces.

Can I ask a question: why is there a perception that the need to bless a space is dependent upon its size?

Is there an understanding out there that the Holy Spirit cannot fit in certain areas?  Tongue

Thanks, Father.

Do you think it'd be a bad idea to get a dorm blessed if one's roomate used it for unwholesome activities?

Why would it be a bad idea? Is your roommate some sort of super powerful being who can force the Lord to do his will?

If your roommate is doing something 'unwholesome', why would you not want the room to be blessed since you occupy the same space and would want the blessing of the Lord to be in  this space?

And don't EVEN get me started on how, if your roommate is doing something so awful that you are concerned about those activities somehow impacting the blessing of the Lord, then WHY ARE YOU STAYING THERE WITH THAT ROOMMATE?  police
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« Reply #43 on: January 13, 2012, 02:15:36 AM »

Thank you to everyone for your replies.
Unfortunately our church does not have an office or staff, and my Priest has a "day job" as a professor at a local university so I hate to bother him. I have no idea who is on the parish council either.

I would like to know what you would consider an appropriate gift amount.


I apologize for having my  own agenda, but if you work the HF bands, I would suggest and inexpensive Kaito/Degen 1103. I have been listening for a long time, but I have yet to come across an Orthodox ham radio operator in the shortwave frequencies. On the west coast 3730 often veers into philosophy and religion (mostly from a protestant perspective) and not being an operator I have no voice on the matter. You can promote the radio as a sleep aid providing frequencies where antennas are discussed day and night. I can attest to its effectiveness for sleep inducement but I prefer the kind and gentle female voices of the AIRINC San Francisco air traffic coordinators. 

On another note, your QRZ location suggests I may be able to hear your HF transmissions if I know where/when..

Sorry for the intrusion.

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« Reply #44 on: January 13, 2012, 10:37:14 AM »

Would a priest bless a college dorm?

Yes. I have done so in the past as part of an OCF activity. Works really well!

Prison cells can also be blessed, as well as workplaces.

Can I ask a question: why is there a perception that the need to bless a space is dependent upon its size?

Is there an understanding out there that the Holy Spirit cannot fit in certain areas?  Tongue

Maybe some people have the impression that certain evil and dirty and nasty places can't be blessed, like bathrooms, or college dorm rooms Wink

Well, if a place is dirty and evil, then I can't think of a better reason to bless that space...

But then again, I have been accused of being 'out of step' with the thinking of others.

Father, you are the one 'in step', it is the thinking of others that is perplexing from time to time!
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