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Author Topic: Catechumen ups and downs  (Read 3090 times) Average Rating: 0
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JoyceV925
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« on: June 11, 2012, 09:47:07 AM »

Being a catechumen is rough! 

I'm feeling very discouraged and I don't have anyone to really talk to about it. Over the past several months I've really dove into learning about Orthodoxy, reading anything my priest could give me, and now I'm officially in a catechumen class with some others being chrismated and that's going okay (it's a bit elementary compared to what I was getting one on one with my priest before others came forward to be catechumen… and classes are inconsistent, but whatever). The catch for me is I'm not baptized so my conversion will include the whole package deal at once. But not just that, I live with my fiance (I use the term loosely, we've been together 8 years, own a home together, but neither of us are in a hurry to get married) who also has never been baptized and really isn't interested in making church a priority. He's gone several times with me to Liturgy and does enjoy it but says he doesn't care if he's never baptized and is basically "along for the ride" since I'm the one who has been on a search for God. He's technically agreed to join the catechumen group except it's obvious he's not all that interested in doing the reading (although he does seem to enjoy the discussions when he goes). He's very supportive and understanding that it's important to me, but it's just not as important to him.

So anyway, I went to the Memorial Day Pilgrimage at St Tikhon Monastery in S Canaan, PA (which I highly, highly recommend!) with some others from my church and just soaked it all in. It was 3 days of church bliss. My priest was serving at the Liturgies so later we all met for dinner. Father pulled me aside and said, "I need to talk to you." So I said, OK and we leaned off to the side, and he told me, "I need to tell you that I can't get the Bishop's blessing to baptize you unless Sean gets baptized too, or at least commits that he will shortly after you do."

I tried not to let it bother me, but now I feel like all the air has been let out of my balloon. How am I going to explain to Sean that if he doesn't get baptized with me (or at least soon after) that I can’t? I know he’ll say, “That’s stupid, you’re the one who wants to do it, what does it have to do with me?” And I understand the why because we live together, because we should and eventually will get married, but he won’t understand it. To Sean it will be “rules of authority” over his head and he’ll get defensive under the pressure. And knowing that he’s not even really invested spiritually in any of it, how can I ask him to go through with it? 

I wish Father didn’t drop this bomb on my shoulders. I wish he would have called a meeting with the 3 of us to sit down and talk about the issue, because maybe if it was explained by the priest and not me he’d agree to do it. But now I feel it’s my responsibility to get Sean back on board and it’s too much and I feel like I’d be manipulating him. I wish Father would have told us both so it didn’t have to come from me.  I don’t even know how to approach it with him and don’t want to.

I’m just a wreck about it. Part of me says, “Well that was fun, I learned a lot. Found the true faith and all that jazz but can’t pass Go, cannot collect $200 so that’s that.”  What’s the point in continuing to attend?

The other part says be patient, continue to go, continue to invite Sean to liturgy and there’s no hurry and no need to put any pressure on him. Maybe he’ll come around. But that’s HARD to hold onto a “maybe”.  I feel lost and burned. And praying about it just makes me cry.
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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2012, 10:14:13 AM »

Dear Joyce,

I pray you will pass through this difficult time, emerging with a stronger faith.  I wouldn't be afraid about crying when you pray, our Lord also wept. 

You are not being rejected from the Church, and I'm sure your priest will continue to support, encourage and advise you during this period of waiting.  Why don't you schedule a time for a meeting with him when you can have his undivided attention?   

Lord Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy
Most Holy Theotokos Save Us
Beloved Saint Photini please intercede of the servant of God, Joyce.


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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2012, 10:14:22 AM »

Hi Joyce,

I hope someone here can offer you better, more uplifting advice than I can.  All I can say is that you're not alone.  Not only are there many others like you who struggle with this seemingly endless purgatorial catechumenate, but Christ walks beside you through your every suffering.  While I can empathize that your soul yearns to become a member of Christ's Body by receiving baptism, chrismation and holy communion, the sufferings you experience now do in fact bind you closer to Christ.  Gaze upon a crucifix and you will see yourself there.

"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be in dread of them: for it is the LORD your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you."
Deut. 31:6

"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies."
2 Cor. 4:8-10
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« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2012, 01:52:16 PM »

Joyce- I know what you mean.

Try not to give up.  angel
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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2012, 02:05:29 PM »

Prayers that your situation will be resolved with you both being received into the church in happiness. Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2012, 02:39:56 PM »

I'm sorry to hear that your having a tough time right now. Not to sound mean or anything but you should of saw this coming There not called Orthodox for nothing. You started this out knowing your own life style that your living in I'm not here to say that it's right or wrong ( As I been where you are) I just think you need to sit down and maybe really talk with your bf on the whole subject maybe this is G-d's way of helping you and your bf move things along in one way or the other
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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2012, 02:46:40 PM »

Not to sound mean or anything but you should of saw this coming There not called Orthodox for nothing.

Should have saw this coming?! You're assuming I had some knowledge of Orthodoxy before I ever heard the word? You're funny.


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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2012, 02:57:58 PM »

Is the priest aware that you and Sean are not married but living together? The other question would be that if you became orthodox with sean unbaptized, you could not be married in the sight of the church. They will allow an orthodox Christian to marry a christian who was baptized outside the Orthodox Church but a marriage to an unbaptized person is against canonical law and thus can not be done. There are so many reasons that the bishop would have counseled your priest in the manner he did. At least you had a priest who was honest and up front with the information so you would know what you were getting into. I will pray to our Lord and his Blessed Mother to help you through this hard time as youponder your next steps.

Thomas
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2012, 03:09:29 PM »

Is the priest aware that you and Sean are not married but living together? The other question would be that if you became orthodox with sean unbaptized, you could not be married in the sight of the church. They will allow an orthodox Christian to marry a christian who was baptized outside the Orthodox Church but a marriage to an unbaptized person is against canonical law and thus can not be done. There are so many reasons that the bishop would have counseled your priest in the manner he did. At least you had a priest who was honest and up front with the information so you would know what you were getting into. I will pray to our Lord and his Blessed Mother to help you through this hard time as youponder your next steps.

Thomas
Yes, the priest is aware which is why he's so concerned for us. He wants us to be baptized together so that we can then be married in the church.  He doesn't want me to throw in the towel of course and wants to see us both come into the church. I just wish I knew before now what the "rules" were so that I could have had this conversation with Sean of what would be expected of us BOTH before it got to this point. The whole process has been so unorganized.

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« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2012, 03:10:42 PM »

Not to sound mean or anything but you should of saw this coming There not called Orthodox for nothing.

Should have saw this coming?! You're assuming I had some knowledge of Orthodoxy before I ever heard the word? You're funny.



Sorry I just went off your statement that you did lots of reading on Orthodoxy plus most people know "Orthodox" as being real strict by the 2 Orthodox faiths of the world A. Orthodox Jews B. Orthodox Christians. these 2 groups will make your head spin with all there rules
 Again I 'm sorry if you took it the wrong way
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« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2012, 03:30:49 PM »

The whole process has been so unorganized.

This has been my perception, as well.  I sincerely believe with all my heart that I will never be made a catechumen due to how wishy-washy the whole thing is.

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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2012, 03:39:51 PM »

The whole process has been so unorganized.

This has been my perception, as well.  I sincerely believe with all my heart that I will never be made a catechumen due to how wishy-washy the whole thing is.



I hate to say it, but I'm glad I'm not the only one! My priest admitted he was so excited that he "jumped the gun" on a few things and I'm standing there like, "I have no idea how this is supposed to work at all. What is happening?"
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« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2012, 04:00:43 PM »

I hate to say it, but I'm glad I'm not the only one! My priest admitted he was so excited that he "jumped the gun" on a few things and I'm standing there like, "I have no idea how this is supposed to work at all. What is happening?"

Indeed. 

Still, I stand by my earlier comments.  Maintain faith and hope, if you can.  Rely on God's grace to do so.  Take it day by day.  That's about the only thing that keeps me sane.

In time, the holy Spirit will reveal to you what is to come next.  That may involve joining the catechumenate for the RCC or something else entirely.  Or maybe things will work out.  God alone knows.  The waiting can be hell, though.  (I will say that the process for becoming RC is much more structured than our mutual experiences.)
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« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2012, 04:06:11 PM »

Indeed. 

Still, I stand by my earlier comments.  Maintain faith and hope, if you can.  Rely on God's grace to do so.  Take it day by day.  That's about the only thing that keeps me sane.

In time, the holy Spirit will reveal to you what is to come next.  That may involve joining the catechumenate for the RCC or something else entirely.  Or maybe things will work out.  God alone knows.  The waiting can be hell, though.  (I will say that the process for becoming RC is much more structured than our mutual experiences.)

Thank you for earlier encouraging post, it definitely touched my heart. According to a lot of people here, "the struggle/wait/ache/etc/etc is worth it in the end so...." I am trying to grab my boot straps and keep walking.
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2012, 04:34:19 PM »

basically, as Christians, we don't believe it's ok to live together without being married.
also, we don't think it's a good idea for Christians to marry those who are not Christians because of this whole thing u r experiencing, which is that it's really painful not to be able to share the most important thing in yr life (which is faith, for those who are Christian) with the most important person in yr life who is yr partner (in most cases).

so, the way i see it, is u have to assess whether u are both basically 'married' already, in which case legalise it (in a civil wedding, for example) or u have to decide that there are too many differences and move on (which feels like a divorce even if u are not technically married; only u can decide if this is an option for u).
the church (in my understanding) will not pressure anyone who is civilly married to get a divorce, as they recognise the union even if does not take place in church, and then they will approach u as a Christian already married to a non Christian and baptise u alone.
the downside of this approach is that yr fiance may decide to stay non Christian indefinitely and then u will have to accept this outcome.
but the church can't agree to a church member living with someone they are not married to. (i mean 'living with'  Wink not just flat mates) also after u r baptised, if yr fiance decides not to follow u, u will not be 'allowed' to marry him after u r baptised. i say 'allow' coz of course anyone can get a civil wedding, but u will not be admitted into the full live of the church (eg. communion) if u marry a non Christian after being baptised.

these rules sound harsh, but they are there to protect people's hearts. it is truly difficult to have a partner who does not share yr faith, unless yr faith is not important to u. i am assuming yr faith is important to u, as u would not be making the effort to convert 'just for fun'! (well maybe some very very bored people do, but i think it is not yr case).

so i think u have to honest about the situation with yr fiance and see where that leads. maybe u will both be baptised, maybe u will run off and get married and risk the possible lifelong differences (and possibly upset the priest, thus delaying baptism), or maybe u will both slow down and arrange for u to be baptised a bit later when u have both had more time to think and consider yr options. i have several friends who have had interesting marital situations in the church, so if u need more advice from someone who has considered these things a lot, please send a personal message.

may God guide u.
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« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2012, 05:12:54 PM »

what mabsoota said. Grin

The process of conversion is really not so much an intellectual assent to a set of beliefs as it is conforming your mind and heart (or transforming, if you will) so that you can live an Orthodox life.
As you have learned, there are several big obstacles in the way. This is not the "fault" of the catechumenate (although one could wish that the priest had perhaps not "jumped the gun") but is simply the reality of your life at this time. These things cannot be ameliorated by a "shotgun baptism and wedding," which wiil not open yours and sean's hearts to experience and live an Orthodox life in an Orthodox marriage. The Orthodox understanding and theology of marriage is totally different - a priest once told my husband and I to turn and look at each other: "This is the person that God has given you to help you achieve salvation, and this is the person that God has given you to help  achieve salvation."

Use this time to prepare yourself and sean and explore what conversion will actually mean in your lives.
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« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2012, 08:50:57 PM »

I'm slightly surprised that he would baptize you at all. My priest has turned down people wanting to be baptized if they were living with a person that they weren't married to because they were "living in sin", as he said it. I thought this was the norm.
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2012, 10:20:25 PM »

Hello Joyce,

First, I am so glad that you feel comfortable enough to come here to seek out some support.  Honestly, I cannot imagine how difficult/painful this revelation has been.  I read your post before work this morning and my heart sank.  You've been on my mind off and on all day.  Your priest is a human being, so I don't mean to be critical, but it sounds like he didn't go about things in the best manner.  It probably would have been best, like you say, for him to have met with you and your partner to discuss this issue, if not earlier, at least together in a time set aside to address the complexities of the issue and allow you to process your emotions.  I'm sorry you were not given that opportunity.  I know of people who have been through similar situations (no situation is the same) and the majority have come through the issue baptized as Orthodox Christians, but it tends to be a long, difficult road.  I'll pray that God give you strength during this difficult time.  And continue to be honest about your emotions.  Don't bottle it up.  If you are able to gather the strength, I encourage you to be frank with your priest about where you are right now emotionally and the frustration/hurt you feel related to the way the information from the bishop was relayed to you.  I don't know you,  but you come across as terribly sincere in your post.  I don't see how can anyone could not feel for you in this difficult situation.  You have my prayers and if you ever need to talk/process/vent shoot me a private message. 

John
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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2012, 11:06:56 PM »

what mabsoota said. Grin

"This is the person that God has given you to help you achieve salvation, and this is the person that God has given you to help  achieve salvation."

Use this time to prepare yourself and sean and explore what conversion will actually mean in your lives.
This viewpoint is one that I have heard my own priest express numerous times during GOYA meetings, and something that touches me very deeply. The sacrement of marriage is highly important, to say the least. I hope that the person who you are living with is someone with whom you are willing to make the journey to salvation with, in which case it is important to keep in mind the fact that the journey is to be made. It's important that the future of your relationship together is one in which every joy can be shared. The joy of faith is one of the greatest joys of life. Just be patient and teach the faith to your boyfriend gradually--make sure he has access to any books or Bibles that have assisted you in your journey, as well as displaying any icons you may have in your home. Invite him to church, or to your catechism classes. It's a long and difficult road, and I applaud you for taking it. You're on the right path, just continue to struggle through. Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2012, 12:36:29 AM »

Please forgive me for not helping with this post, but I feel moved to say that I think this decision of your bishop is most unwise.

It seems to me that there is no thing of greater importance to your spiritual life than you being baptised in the name of the Most Holy Trinity and communed of the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ. The problems that your relationship and mode of living might cause to you soul and/or the scandal that they might cause in the community absolutely pale in comparison.

I'm sorry, but I just find the whole thing mind-boggling.

You have my sympathy and my prayers.
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« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2012, 12:57:53 AM »

I doubt scandal to the community is what's on the bishop's mind. Compared to what I've seen, the approach he has taken is in fact somewhat generous. I do not assume to know what goes on within the bounds of her and her boyfriend's relationship, but the general assumption when they are living together is that it is not good. I am sure that is what is on the bishop's mind. While my heart goes out to you, Joyce, I agree with his pastoral decision.
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« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2012, 01:39:27 AM »

My priest admitted he was so excited that he "jumped the gun" on a few things and I'm standing there like, "I have no idea how this is supposed to work at all. What is happening?"
If you were baptized alone, how would you deal with your relationship living with your boyfriend? I imagine that would be a very tense situation, if he is anything like me or 90% of other men.

I think it's not really an issue of something being concealed from you or not properly explained, Joyce. It's common sense that an issue would arise. That said, I empathize with the dilemma. It isn't easy stuff, this Christian business. And I'm sorta with Akimori on this.
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« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2012, 06:27:17 AM »

I am curious. Is cohabitation so bad? The OP mentioned that she has been with her boyfriend/fiance/significant other for over 8 years. That is longer than many marriages I have seen. We often take a smug, condescending stance towards Europe for doing this more and more. Nonetheless, many of those relationships result in long-term, monogamous, childbearing families. Sorry, but sometimes I think, especially for very young brides, that the biggest enemy of their marriage is the wedding that which becomes something of an idol and end unto itself.
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« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2012, 06:38:39 AM »

I am curious. Is cohabitation so bad? The OP mentioned that she has been with her boyfriend/fiance/significant other for over 8 years. That is longer than many marriages I have seen. We often take a smug, condescending stance towards Europe for doing this more and more. Nonetheless, many of those relationships result in long-term, monogamous, childbearing families. Sorry, but sometimes I think, especially for very young brides, that the biggest enemy of their marriage is the wedding that which becomes something of an idol and end unto itself.
Well I think there are very good reasons to wait on cohabitation until marriage. It's a big mistake. I've had girls move in with me that never worked out because honestly we were never married! There were things that I had to do which stepped right into the husband domain, something I did not want. Saying "Well we aren't even married!" to certain things ended relationships pretty quick. I was pretty sucked into that idea that couples should move in together before getting married to "try it out" but what ends up happening is neither party is really all that "obligated" to one another the way a married couple is. Or atleast I ain't.

And supporting a girlfriend who did nothing to contribute to paying bills, rent, etc breeded nothing but resentment.

If Isa was on here he'd throw out some stats indicating how divorce rates are exponentially higher when couples cohabit first before marrying than people who get married first then move in together.

More power to the people that can do it and make it work.

My faith has come in the way of previous relationships I had and I would be much more better off having someone who is of the same faith than not.
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« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2012, 07:32:56 AM »

Please forgive me for not helping with this post, but I feel moved to say that I think this decision of your bishop is most unwise.

It seems to me that there is no thing of greater importance to your spiritual life than you being baptised in the name of the Most Holy Trinity and communed of the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ. The problems that your relationship and mode of living might cause to you soul and/or the scandal that they might cause in the community absolutely pale in comparison.

I'm sorry, but I just find the whole thing mind-boggling.

You have my sympathy and my prayers.

Wouldn't it be more cruel to baptize her and then not being able to receive communion since she is living with her boyfriend outside of marriage?  No priest is going to commune someone who is doing that, just as he wouldn't commune someone who is cheating on his/her spouse.  He could very well be giving it to them for their condemnation if he did. 
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« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2012, 09:13:43 AM »

Well to give a little background on my relationship, neither of us were raised Christian (or anything else) so cohabitation and the "common sense of Christianity" never applied and we had no reason to know it or adhere to it.  In fact, I considered myself Pagan and my bf and I had a handfasting ceremony in 2005. So in our reality, and our families who attended we are married (just not legally, and not in the Christian sense of the word).

It wasn't until a few years ago that I felt something tug at me to try to find God. I visited several churches but it wasn't until I experienced the Orthodox church that I felt the presence of something Divine and greater than I'd ever experienced in paganism or in any other church. So after a few visits I wrote the priest an e-mail that I felt something there, and I wanted to learn more. And that was how it all began.

Sean likes the church, he likes liturgy, he likes the people and he has no problems with any of it (so this could be worse) so I think it is a patience thing. To keep going, keep inviting him to go, and see. He told me he'd go on Sundays (unless there was something he really needed to get done) and he'd go to the Catechumen classes so I pray he gets "caught in the net" as my priest says. I truly feel that if I were allowed to be baptised he would too but there's still that fear. And I truly think that if my priest sat us down and explained it, he'd be okay with it and start to understand how the whole Orthodox Christian living picture comes together. It's just getting there.

As far as conversion not being an intellectual thing, I do understand that in theory, I'm just not there yet. Remember, I'm learning about Christ from the ground up. I still have a ways to go.
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« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2012, 09:46:15 AM »

It also occured to me reading various things here that the word "catechumen" means something different in different churches. My priest was quick to call me a catechumen as "one who studies" almost as soon as I showed interest but others seem to be more careful and choosey with the term. Being that I have no point of reference on any of it, I can only go with what I'm told.  Huh
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« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2012, 09:53:34 AM »

It also occured to me reading various things here that the word "catechumen" means something different in different churches. My priest was quick to call me a catechumen as "one who studies" almost as soon as I showed interest but others seem to be more careful and choosey with the term. Being that I have no point of reference on any of it, I can only go with what I'm told.  Huh

I never understood it, either.  If you're attending a church with the intention of becoming a full member once you completely understand what that all entails, you're a catechumen.  I don't understand this apparent obsession some people/priests/places have with some "official" catechumenate. 
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« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2012, 09:56:14 AM »

It also occured to me reading various things here that the word "catechumen" means something different in different churches. My priest was quick to call me a catechumen as "one who studies" almost as soon as I showed interest but others seem to be more careful and choosey with the term. Being that I have no point of reference on any of it, I can only go with what I'm told.  Huh

I never understood it, either.  If you're attending a church with the intention of becoming a full member once you completely understand what that all entails, you're a catechumen.  I don't understand this apparent obsession some people/priests/places have with some "official" catechumenate. 

It was explained to me as the difference between dating and becoming engaged. An engagement is usually official.
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« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2012, 10:01:20 AM »


I never understood it, either.  If you're attending a church with the intention of becoming a full member once you completely understand what that all entails, you're a catechumen.  I don't understand this apparent obsession some people/priests/places have with some "official" catechumenate. 

I don't think such intention gets you a burial as an Orthodox Christian or any of those other special treatment options.
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« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2012, 10:01:43 AM »

It also occured to me reading various things here that the word "catechumen" means something different in different churches. My priest was quick to call me a catechumen as "one who studies" almost as soon as I showed interest but others seem to be more careful and choosey with the term. Being that I have no point of reference on any of it, I can only go with what I'm told.  Huh

I never understood it, either.  If you're attending a church with the intention of becoming a full member once you completely understand what that all entails, you're a catechumen.  I don't understand this apparent obsession some people/priests/places have with some "official" catechumenate. 

It was explained to me as the difference between dating and becoming engaged. An engagement is usually official.

Hence, my careful use of the phrase "intention of becoming a full member".  Just showing up to check things out or because you just like the music/people/food doesn't make one a catechumen.  
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« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2012, 10:03:50 AM »


I never understood it, either.  If you're attending a church with the intention of becoming a full member once you completely understand what that all entails, you're a catechumen.  I don't understand this apparent obsession some people/priests/places have with some "official" catechumenate. 

I don't think such intention gets you a burial as an Orthodox Christian or any of those other special treatment options.

I believe the announcement of such an intention makes one a de facto catechumen.  Your priest may disagree.
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« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2012, 10:17:15 AM »


I never understood it, either.  If you're attending a church with the intention of becoming a full member once you completely understand what that all entails, you're a catechumen.  I don't understand this apparent obsession some people/priests/places have with some "official" catechumenate. 

I don't think such intention gets you a burial as an Orthodox Christian or any of those other special treatment options.

Yes, good point. Becoming a catechumen is a public statement of one's serious intentions, just like an engagement. Plus you qualify for an Orthodox funeral!
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« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2012, 10:20:40 AM »


I believe the announcement of such an intention makes one a de facto catechumen.  Your priest may disagree.

Even if it is a priest's discretion, I think that such people with serious intentions should be prayed for during the Liturgy along with the names of actual de jure catechumen.  Of course, I attend a very small parish where such likelihood is possible; obviously larger parishes could not entertain every johnny-come-lately.
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« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2012, 10:22:39 AM »

It was explained to me as the difference between dating and becoming engaged. An engagement is usually official.

I understand that view but then what are you while you're still in introduction/dating? There's no "inquiry class" available. My understanding is you become a catechumen, go through catechumen classes or meetings with the priest and then at some point (which could take however long) you decide you do or don't want to convert and then if you do, the priest will set that up when he feels you're ready to be chrismated or baptised. But maybe not?

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« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2012, 10:37:08 AM »

I understand "Prayers at the Making of a Catechumen" is done when someone is officially made a Catechumen.

http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/catechumen

Can also be the first part of the Baptismal service.
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« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2012, 11:11:00 AM »

I understand "Prayers at the Making of a Catechumen" is done when someone is officially made a Catechumen.

http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/catechumen

Can also be the first part of the Baptismal service.

That's essentially the difference in practices that people are discussing. Originally the making of a catachumen and bapstism were entirely separate ceremonies. Only in the case of infants were the two performed together. Then the Church entered a long period in which infant baptisms were common and adult baptisms fairly rare, and many came to see the prayers for making a catachumen as part of the baptismal rite, since that was where they always heard them. Now there is a wide variation in practice. Some priests still wait to perform the prayers until the actual baptism; others have gone back to the original practice for adults of performing the rite separately as soon as an inquirer has made the decision that he definitely wants to convert. And some priests do something in between. Hopefully this is one of those differences in practice that the new working groups for the regional American council will address as the variations and consequent ambiguity are obviously stressful for some converts.

(Chris, if you are concerned about 'the priest's discretion', ask him. In my experience, once someone is a 'catachumen', in the looser sense of having expressed a definite intention to convert and under a priest's supervision in the process of preparation, then he is a catachumen for all intents and purposes, including Orthodox burial, regardless of when the priest chooses to actually say the prayers)
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« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2012, 11:38:42 AM »

(Chris, if you are concerned about 'the priest's discretion', ask him. In my experience, once someone is a 'catachumen', in the looser sense of having expressed a definite intention to convert and under a priest's supervision in the process of preparation, then he is a catachumen for all intents and purposes, including Orthodox burial, regardless of when the priest chooses to actually say the prayers)

It's a small parish and he knows very well where I stand on my intention.  And he knows I need all the prayers I can get during this journey.  I'm positive that this is some sort of test.
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« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2012, 11:40:46 AM »

(Chris, if you are concerned about 'the priest's discretion', ask him. In my experience, once someone is a 'catachumen', in the looser sense of having expressed a definite intention to convert and under a priest's supervision in the process of preparation, then he is a catachumen for all intents and purposes, including Orthodox burial, regardless of when the priest chooses to actually say the prayers)

It's a small parish and he knows very well where I stand on my intention.  And he knows I need all the prayers I can get during this journey.  I'm positive that this is some sort of test.

I meant ask him about whether or not you would get an Orthodox funeral if you got in a carwreck next time you were headed to Church.
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« Reply #39 on: June 12, 2012, 11:41:32 AM »

It was explained to me as the difference between dating and becoming engaged. An engagement is usually official.

I understand that view but then what are you while you're still in introduction/dating? There's no "inquiry class" available. My understanding is you become a catechumen, go through catechumen classes or meetings with the priest and then at some point (which could take however long) you decide you do or don't want to convert and then if you do, the priest will set that up when he feels you're ready to be chrismated or baptised. But maybe not?



Naturally different priests may approach/handle this differently, depending on their abilities, time, resources etc. At our parish, you can attend catechumen classes no matter if you are serious or curious. We are blessed to have a wonderful deacon who does a great job. You become a catechumen when you and the deacon and the priest decide that you are ready to take the next step and declare your intentions publically. That's the engagement. You have made the decision and have a definite goal. That gets you the perks of a blessing during the service and an Orthodox funeral! Wink
Btw, we once had a man who attended all the classes and services for years without conversion. We referred to him affectionately as "the oldest living catechumen."
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« Reply #40 on: June 12, 2012, 11:44:49 AM »

I meant ask him about whether or not you would get an Orthodox funeral if you got in a carwreck next time you were headed to Church.

Ah.

I'm sure he'll think I'm looney and will possibly recommend me to contact the suicide hotline.
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« Reply #41 on: June 12, 2012, 11:47:08 AM »


Naturally different priests may approach/handle this differently, depending on their abilities, time, resources etc. At our parish, you can attend catechumen classes no matter if you are serious or curious. We are blessed to have a wonderful deacon who does a great job. You become a catechumen when you and the deacon and the priest decide that you are ready to take the next step and declare your intentions publically. That's the engagement. You have made the decision and have a definite goal. That gets you the perks of a blessing during the service and an Orthodox funeral! Wink
Btw, we once had a man who attended all the classes and services for years without conversion. We referred to him affectionately as "the oldest living catechumen."

Ah, okay that makes more sense. Thanks for explaining! Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: June 12, 2012, 11:54:54 AM »

Btw, we once had a man who attended all the classes and services for years without conversion. We referred to him affectionately as "the oldest living catechumen."

I knew of a catechumen at my former RCC like that.  He attended classes for years, came to Mass, etc.., and finally decided that it wasn't for him, that he didn't truly believe.  I actually really respect that.
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« Reply #43 on: June 12, 2012, 12:03:00 PM »

I meant ask him about whether or not you would get an Orthodox funeral if you got in a carwreck next time you were headed to Church.

Ah.

I'm sure he'll think I'm looney and will possibly recommend me to contact the suicide hotline.

Just tell him you're following St. John Climacus: "As of all foods, bread is the most essential, so the thought of death is the most necessary of all works."

(Actually don't. The most reasonable response by a priest to a neophyte quoting the Ladder at them is to extend the catachumenate)
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« Reply #44 on: June 12, 2012, 12:07:31 PM »


(Actually don't. The most reasonable response by a priest to a neophyte quoting the Ladder at them is to extend the catachumenate)

I think that's what has happened in my case already.  I would be better to feign complete ignorance than to demonstrate any degree of assimilation.
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