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Author Topic: The Dismissal of Catechumens  (Read 2106 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 30, 2012, 07:24:02 PM »

In every catechism I've read, catechumens should be dismissed before the Eucharistic half (I forgot the name) of the DL.  However, both parishes (OCA) in my area never dismiss them.  Is this a matter of economy?
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 07:29:42 PM »

In every catechism I've read, catechumens should be dismissed before the Eucharistic half (I forgot the name) of the DL.  However, both parishes (OCA) in my area never dismiss them.  Is this a matter of economy?

I'm not aware of any parishes that actually do dismiss catechumens/non-Orthodox at any point in the DL--whether they should or not is another matter. I have seen monasteries list in their etiquette guidelines that catechumens/non-Orthodox should move to the narthex at "The doors! The doors!", but again, I'm not sure if any monasteries actually do this or not.
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 07:33:21 PM »

In every catechism I've read, catechumens should be dismissed before the Eucharistic half (I forgot the name) of the DL.  However, both parishes (OCA) in my area never dismiss them.  Is this a matter of economy?

I think it has more to do with the fact that in Orthodox lands, and so Orthodox practice, there really weren't all that many catechumens, everyone having been a member of the Church since birth. Much like nobody ever runs to check for approaching Roman soldiers before the Gospel is brought out in procession.
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 07:38:53 PM »

Before I was EO, I was taking the RCIA and during Mass they did dismiss the catechumens.  If no one follows this any longer, why go through with saying "Depart you catechumens!"  Doesn't make much sense.
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2012, 07:40:01 PM »

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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2012, 08:57:18 PM »

Last year during Lent, they gave the dismissal of the catechumens, and I was pretty much the only such person in the parish at the time- but I didn't leave.
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2012, 09:06:45 PM »

During my catechumenate I visited two of Elder Ephraim's monasteries and I was instructed that I should move to the narthex at "The doors, the doors..."  It was certainly humbling.  I would guess that there is economy applied in the United States considering that nearly all of the catechumens are already Christians.  I am curious, does anyone know what the catechumens did during the liturgy of the faithful in the early centuries of the Church?  Did they just hang out in the narthex, or did they have some kind of instruction or study they took part in?
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2012, 09:17:31 PM »

Out of curiousity, what would happen if a catechumen received the Eucharist before being Baptised and received? For example, say a catechumen visits some Orthodox mega-Church event and the Priest is giving the Eucharist out to hundreds of people and a catechumen just slips in the crowd and takes it? Could that Priest get exocommunicated? And what of the catechumen?
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 02:58:45 AM »

Out of curiousity, what would happen if a catechumen received the Eucharist before being Baptised and received? For example, say a catechumen visits some Orthodox mega-Church event and the Priest is giving the Eucharist out to hundreds of people and a catechumen just slips in the crowd and takes it? Could that Priest get exocommunicated? And what of the catechumen?

If the priest was ignorant, why would he be excommunicated? The catechumen should be remonstrated. If that catechumen is serious about becoming Orthodox, then he should not willfully go against the teachings of the Church. The precedent is to be struck down by God.
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« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2012, 03:03:30 AM »

During my catechumenate I visited two of Elder Ephraim's monasteries and I was instructed that I should move to the narthex at "The doors, the doors..."  It was certainly humbling.  I would guess that there is economy applied in the United States considering that nearly all of the catechumens are already Christians.  I am curious, does anyone know what the catechumens did during the liturgy of the faithful in the early centuries of the Church?  Did they just hang out in the narthex, or did they have some kind of instruction or study they took part in?

I have a vague memory of hearing Fr. Chad Hatfield saying that the catechumens went to receive catechesis. The only people hanging around the narthex would probably be penitents (who are already Orthodox faithful).
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2012, 03:07:25 AM »

Before I was EO, I was taking the RCIA and during Mass they did dismiss the catechumens.  If no one follows this any longer, why go through with saying "Depart you catechumens!"  Doesn't make much sense.

There are certain things that just get "fossilized" in the liturgy. We chant the phos hilaron at vespers even though we don't have a special vesperal lamp. Change isn't exactly looked favorably upon in Orthodoxy. Anyway, the dismissal of the catechumens, even if no one is actually forced to leave, can still be  something that helps to humble us. At that point in the liturgy, we can remind ourselves that this is "serious business."
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« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2012, 04:53:28 AM »

Quote
We chant the phos hilaron at vespers even though we don't have a special vesperal lamp.

You don't need one. Placing an altar server's candlestick in the nave in front of the ambon is all you need to do.
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« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2012, 07:37:00 AM »

You don't need one. Placing an altar server's candlestick in the nave in front of the ambon is all you need to do.

I misread that as abortion clinic... don't ask... but I was imagining LBK putting candlesticks in the lobby of abortion clinics.... *sips coffee*
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« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2012, 07:41:35 AM »

You don't need one. Placing an altar server's candlestick in the nave in front of the ambon is all you need to do.

I misread that as abortion clinic... don't ask... but I was imagining LBK putting candlesticks in the lobby of abortion clinics.... *sips coffee*

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« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2012, 08:49:16 AM »

Before I was EO, I was taking the RCIA and during Mass they did dismiss the catechumens.  If no one follows this any longer, why go through with saying "Depart you catechumens!"  Doesn't make much sense.

Our parish keeps it in the Liturgy because our Bishop thinks it's a good idea in case there is ever any need of following those parts again. Who knows, one day there might be people who want to come up and knock the Holy Mysteries out of the cup or any number of things. We don't actually dismiss the catechumens but it's said.
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2012, 02:17:13 PM »

You don't need one. Placing an altar server's candlestick in the nave in front of the ambon is all you need to do.

I misread that as abortion clinic... don't ask... but I was imagining LBK putting candlesticks in the lobby of abortion clinics.... *sips coffee*

Better make that coffee intravenous, Aindriú!  Shocked laugh laugh

Well, if LBK was hanging out in the lobby of an abortion clinic with a candlestick, people had better watch out!
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« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2012, 05:27:22 PM »

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We chant the phos hilaron at vespers even though we don't have a special vesperal lamp.

You don't need one. Placing an altar server's candlestick in the nave in front of the ambon is all you need to do.

My point was things are not always as they were in the liturgies. Also, I've never seen that done either.
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« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2012, 05:45:53 PM »

The situation with this bugs me, as I don't like having portions of the Liturgy that are meant to be ignored or not followed.
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« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2012, 06:43:55 PM »

A priest friend of mine and I were discussing this recently and I agree with his opinion: the litany should be said (or at least the prayer of the litany), but there should be no dismissal. There's no point, since we don't expect them to actually leave. So why say it?

It's an anachronism. If we suffer persecution and it needs to be revived, then we can revive it, but there's no real point in doing it now. All it does is confuse people.
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« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2012, 11:45:57 AM »

Before I was EO, I was taking the RCIA and during Mass they did dismiss the catechumens.  If no one follows this any longer, why go through with saying "Depart you catechumens!"  Doesn't make much sense.

Fr. Lawrence Farley answers this question in his book on the Divine Liturgy.  I forget what he says there (don't have the book with me), but this blog post has the general gist:

Quote
The Liturgy of the Catechumens then concludes with the Litany of the Catechumens, which is for the catechumens of the local parish and not for all catechumens everywhere, as is made clear by the direction for those catechumens present to pray to the Lord: Pray to the Lord, you catechumens. As such, the litany should not be said if there are no catechumens present. But, in the United States where only one-half of one percent of the population is Orthodox Christian, each of us should question if we are fulfilling our obligation to proclaim the Good News if we do not have catechumens among us, for whom the faithful are asked to pray that God will have mercy on them: Let us, the faithful, pray for the catechumens, that the Lord may have mercy on them. This petition for us to pray for the catechumens is important for us to consider. Those in the catechumenate, which during the time of St. John Chrysostom would last three or more years, are in a wonderful, but precarious, situation. Having made the first step to enter Christ’s Church, they are drawing near to grace but have not yet tasted the Cup of Salvation. Our Adversary, the Devil, who prowls around as a lion “seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5), of course will intensify his attacks against catechumens as he does against all those who seek refuge in Christ; however, unlike those already in the salvific Ark of the Church, catechumens do not have access to those Holy Mysteries essential to the spiritual life: Christ’s Body and Blood, through which we participate in the life of Christ, and Holy Confession, through which confessed sins are forgiven. We then should pray fervently for them because we know our Lord is merciful and is working in each person’s life and desires that we all partake of His life by being grafted onto His Body, the Church, through baptism, which is our personal experience of Christ’s Death and Resurrection (the three immersions representing the three days that Christ was in the tomb) and chrismation, which is our personal experience of Pentecost as we receive the Holy Spirit.

http://blog.westsrbdio.org/2011/03/24/the-meaning-of-our-divine-services-part-eleven-divine-liturgy-%e2%80%9cthe-litanies%e2%80%9d/
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« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2012, 08:21:37 AM »

At the church I am attending, I asked father about this very question. He told me that the church had discussed this at one point and he thought the catechumens should at least go to the back of the church (which is where I am always at anyways with at least one of my little ones Smiley )
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« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2012, 08:27:02 AM »

Before I was EO, I was taking the RCIA and during Mass they did dismiss the catechumens.  If no one follows this any longer, why go through with saying "Depart you catechumens!"  Doesn't make much sense.

Fr. Lawrence Farley answers this question in his book on the Divine Liturgy.  I forget what he says there (don't have the book with me), but this blog post has the general gist:

Quote
The Liturgy of the Catechumens then concludes with the Litany of the Catechumens, which is for the catechumens of the local parish and not for all catechumens everywhere, as is made clear by the direction for those catechumens present to pray to the Lord: Pray to the Lord, you catechumens. As such, the litany should not be said if there are no catechumens present. But, in the United States where only one-half of one percent of the population is Orthodox Christian, each of us should question if we are fulfilling our obligation to proclaim the Good News if we do not have catechumens among us, for whom the faithful are asked to pray that God will have mercy on them: Let us, the faithful, pray for the catechumens, that the Lord may have mercy on them. This petition for us to pray for the catechumens is important for us to consider. Those in the catechumenate, which during the time of St. John Chrysostom would last three or more years, are in a wonderful, but precarious, situation. Having made the first step to enter Christ’s Church, they are drawing near to grace but have not yet tasted the Cup of Salvation. Our Adversary, the Devil, who prowls around as a lion “seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5), of course will intensify his attacks against catechumens as he does against all those who seek refuge in Christ; however, unlike those already in the salvific Ark of the Church, catechumens do not have access to those Holy Mysteries essential to the spiritual life: Christ’s Body and Blood, through which we participate in the life of Christ, and Holy Confession, through which confessed sins are forgiven. We then should pray fervently for them because we know our Lord is merciful and is working in each person’s life and desires that we all partake of His life by being grafted onto His Body, the Church, through baptism, which is our personal experience of Christ’s Death and Resurrection (the three immersions representing the three days that Christ was in the tomb) and chrismation, which is our personal experience of Pentecost as we receive the Holy Spirit.

http://blog.westsrbdio.org/2011/03/24/the-meaning-of-our-divine-services-part-eleven-divine-liturgy-%e2%80%9cthe-litanies%e2%80%9d/

There is a Serbian church not too far from where I attend that just recently started to include the Litany of the Catechumens due to the fact that they had't had any converts to the church for a long time. It seems that it used to be very ethnic although they are starting to receive more inquirers. I have also heard that they just recently had to get an adult baptistery since all of their previous baptisms were children. 
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« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2012, 11:03:22 AM »

Is it normal or ok to just remove things like this?  The Church I attend still says it, and when it got to that part, I was a little worried.  I had brought my wife with me and we were both very unfamiliar with the Liturgy at the time.  I was glad they didnt make us leave as Im sure that would have bothered her and maybe turned her off to Orthodoxy completely.

I see why it was put there, but these days where most people are converts or visitors I do agree that it can be a little confusing if you arent going to actually make people leave. 
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« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2012, 11:08:26 AM »

Is it normal or ok to just remove things like this?
Normal - yes, definitely. OK? well, that's for someone with a higher rank than I to decide. My priest and I often get into a minor skirmish about what should and shouldn't be included. Unfortunately, the authorities we consult differ.
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« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2012, 08:43:22 PM »

Is it normal or ok to just remove things like this?  The Church I attend still says it, and when it got to that part, I was a little worried.  I had brought my wife with me and we were both very unfamiliar with the Liturgy at the time.  I was glad they didnt make us leave as Im sure that would have bothered her and maybe turned her off to Orthodoxy completely.

I see why it was put there, but these days where most people are converts or visitors I do agree that it can be a little confusing if you arent going to actually make people leave. 

The Greek practice (as far as I've observed it) is to omit the dismissal of the catechumens but to retain "the doors, the doors!".

Our priest prays the litany of the catechumens silently, as I'm sure do others.
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« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2012, 02:28:47 AM »

A priest friend of mine and I were discussing this recently and I agree with his opinion: the litany should be said (or at least the prayer of the litany), but there should be no dismissal. There's no point, since we don't expect them to actually leave. So why say it?

It's an anachronism. If we suffer persecution and it needs to be revived, then we can revive it, but there's no real point in doing it now. All it does is confuse people.

But in some parishes, we do expect them to actually leave.  My fellow catechumen and I were told to leave at this point, and we returned during the Litany of Thanksgiving.  We would stand or sit outside, discussing our explorations, reading, prayer lives, and so forth, as we grew into Orthodoxy.  If some, or even most parishes choose not to do this, then that is their choice, but it seems to me that if a priest does away with a long-standing custom of the Church, then realises that this leaves an inconsistency between the words said and the actions done, then it is somewhat perverse to remedy this by omitting the words instead of restoring the custom.  That's how traditions get eroded.

Your priest friend reminds me of a priest I encountered on a forum similar to this one, who was theorising about reforms to the Divine Liturgy, and listed a number of points, giving his reasoning and some academic background behind each point.  At his parish, he always omits the troparia on the Beatitudes (which I know happens in a number of parishes), and his proposal in this theoretical list of revisions was that the Beatitudes ought to be removed from the Liturgy altogether because they are a vestige of a procession that no longer takes place, and that while they could remain if they actually reflected the feast or saint being celebrated, they do not, so they should go.  The fact is that they do express the feast or saint if done properly.  He was abbreviating the Liturgy by leaving out the troparia, and then using the effects of this abbreviation as a justification for omission.

Both examples reflect a sort of thought process that I don't really understand.

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« Reply #26 on: May 29, 2012, 08:19:02 AM »

Before I was EO, I was taking the RCIA and during Mass they did dismiss the catechumens.  If no one follows this any longer, why go through with saying "Depart you catechumens!"  Doesn't make much sense.

Fr. Lawrence Farley answers this question in his book on the Divine Liturgy.  I forget what he says there (don't have the book with me), but this blog post has the general gist:

Quote
The Liturgy of the Catechumens then concludes with the Litany of the Catechumens, which is for the catechumens of the local parish and not for all catechumens everywhere, as is made clear by the direction for those catechumens present to pray to the Lord: Pray to the Lord, you catechumens. As such, the litany should not be said if there are no catechumens present. But, in the United States where only one-half of one percent of the population is Orthodox Christian, each of us should question if we are fulfilling our obligation to proclaim the Good News if we do not have catechumens among us, for whom the faithful are asked to pray that God will have mercy on them: Let us, the faithful, pray for the catechumens, that the Lord may have mercy on them. This petition for us to pray for the catechumens is important for us to consider. Those in the catechumenate, which during the time of St. John Chrysostom would last three or more years, are in a wonderful, but precarious, situation. Having made the first step to enter Christ’s Church, they are drawing near to grace but have not yet tasted the Cup of Salvation. Our Adversary, the Devil, who prowls around as a lion “seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5), of course will intensify his attacks against catechumens as he does against all those who seek refuge in Christ; however, unlike those already in the salvific Ark of the Church, catechumens do not have access to those Holy Mysteries essential to the spiritual life: Christ’s Body and Blood, through which we participate in the life of Christ, and Holy Confession, through which confessed sins are forgiven. We then should pray fervently for them because we know our Lord is merciful and is working in each person’s life and desires that we all partake of His life by being grafted onto His Body, the Church, through baptism, which is our personal experience of Christ’s Death and Resurrection (the three immersions representing the three days that Christ was in the tomb) and chrismation, which is our personal experience of Pentecost as we receive the Holy Spirit.

http://blog.westsrbdio.org/2011/03/24/the-meaning-of-our-divine-services-part-eleven-divine-liturgy-%e2%80%9cthe-litanies%e2%80%9d/

This runs counter to what I have seen in both the ROCOR and Serbian Churches.  In both, the prayers were said for ALL catechumens since the Church is one and the Liturgy is mystically celebrated by all outside of time and with those in Heaven and on Earth.  The philosophy above denies the unity of the Church.
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« Reply #27 on: May 29, 2012, 08:57:02 AM »

On Mount Athos, at least in some monasteries, all the prayers for the catechumens are read, for the reasons Punch indicated. However, the dismissal itself is omitted since non-Orthodox aren't admitted to any part of the Liturgy to begin with and is therefore superfluous.
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« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2012, 01:41:54 PM »

Out of curiousity, what would happen if a catechumen received the Eucharist before being Baptised and received? For example, say a catechumen visits some Orthodox mega-Church event and the Priest is giving the Eucharist out to hundreds of people and a catechumen just slips in the crowd and takes it? Could that Priest get exocommunicated? And what of the catechumen?
When a person comes to the Solia to recieve communion, and he or she is not known by the Deacons or Priest, we ask them 1: If they are Orthodox and 2: their name. Those that do not speak english ( in our case) the name will tell a lot... and i as a deacon have turned to the priest to get his attention and verify with him that he knows them. Very rare we are wrong. We invite them to take the blessed bread and if they balk, we invite them to the coffee hour to discuss.... so, i my experience it would be very rare for one to escape our notice. You see the priest and deacon say their name when spooning the gifts : The servant or handmaiden of God_____ ... but if one would lie, then it is not the clergy fault, but the responsibility is on the head of the person - same for goes for being ready to recieve... it is the responsibilty of the reciever to be prepared. Hope this helps answer the question.
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« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2012, 05:33:43 PM »

On Mount Athos, at least in some monasteries, all the prayers for the catechumens are read, for the reasons Punch indicated. However, the dismissal itself is omitted since non-Orthodox aren't admitted to any part of the Liturgy to begin with and is therefore superfluous.

Wait, they would not admit catechumens to the Liturgy of the Catechumens? I realize it's hardly normal for catechumens to be on Athos, but...
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« Reply #30 on: June 13, 2012, 05:36:05 PM »

In every catechism I've read, catechumens should be dismissed before the Eucharistic half (I forgot the name) of the DL.  However, both parishes (OCA) in my area never dismiss them.  Is this a matter of economy?

I'm not aware of any parishes that actually do dismiss catechumens/non-Orthodox at any point in the DL--whether they should or not is another matter. I have seen monasteries list in their etiquette guidelines that catechumens/non-Orthodox should move to the narthex at "The doors! The doors!", but again, I'm not sure if any monasteries actually do this or not.

They do, the Athonite monasteries in US do
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« Reply #31 on: June 13, 2012, 05:37:08 PM »

On Mount Athos, at least in some monasteries, all the prayers for the catechumens are read, for the reasons Punch indicated. However, the dismissal itself is omitted since non-Orthodox aren't admitted to any part of the Liturgy to begin with and is therefore superfluous.

Wait, they would not admit catechumens to the Liturgy of the Catechumens? I realize it's hardly normal for catechumens to be on Athos, but...

I agree.  Sounds suspicious.  Evidence please!
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« Reply #32 on: June 13, 2012, 05:39:48 PM »

A priest friend of mine and I were discussing this recently and I agree with his opinion: the litany should be said (or at least the prayer of the litany), but there should be no dismissal. There's no point, since we don't expect them to actually leave. So why say it?

It's an anachronism. If we suffer persecution and it needs to be revived, then we can revive it, but there's no real point in doing it now. All it does is confuse people.

The UOC of USA has it in italics (i.e. read silently, or over those who are being dismissed to study, but not "generally"). 
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« Reply #33 on: June 13, 2012, 05:41:35 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In every catechism I've read, catechumens should be dismissed before the Eucharistic half (I forgot the name) of the DL.  However, both parishes (OCA) in my area never dismiss them.  Is this a matter of economy?

Personally, I always felt the dismissal of the catechumens is meant to drive home to catechumens the point of how much a privilege Divine Liturgy is.  I don't think the Church necessarily intends to physically send them outside, though I could also understand if they did, rather to cause catechumens to reflect in prayer on their purpose of being there at Church in the first place.  After all, when someone asks you leave somewhere, generally speaking it provokes a defense or reflection as to the initial intentions of being somewhere in the first place.  Sort of like the initiation to Fight Club where they have to stand on the porch for days and endure insults to prove their dedication Wink



stay blessed,
habte selassie
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