Author Topic: Catechumenate/catechism by long-distance - how can this be done?  (Read 618 times)

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Offline Deborah

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Hello,

For someone who can attend church only occasionally (say once every two months at best), in what practical ways can a catechumenate and catechesis be carried out?

If you were or are in this situation as a catechumen, how did you and your priest work through this situation?

Thanks
Deborah
Live in South/East Auckland, Franklin or North Waikato regions of New Zealand? Interested in Orthodoxy? Need transport to an Orthodox Church? Want to meet others? Please send me a PM :)

"You have made us for yourself, Lord; and our hearts are restless until they rest in You" - St. Augustine (my patron saint)

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Catechumenate/catechism by long-distance - how can this be done?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2013, 01:31:49 AM »
If the priest answers phone calls and e-mails, that could work. Or letters. It's like a long-distance relationship. It requires more effort.
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Offline Seraphim98

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Re: Catechumenate/catechism by long-distance - how can this be done?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2013, 02:21:05 AM »
It depends on the priest and the bishop. It is irregular but it can be worked out and permission can be given.  My catechumenate was done by email and took a little over a year (my priest sent me tests on assigned readings) after 2 years as an inquirer. I could only afford to go to church once a year…the nearest was over 1600 miles away.  When the priest thought I was ready he told me and a friend we could come as soon as we could make arrangements.  Thereafter until I moved closer to a local parish (now my drive is only 2 hours) I could only afford to go once a year and sometimes once every two when times were tight.  It can be done, but you've got to work it out with your priest, and given the situation he may need permission/blessing from his bishop to do so…as was the case for me.

The Lord will work it out in His own time.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 02:22:28 AM by Seraphim98 »

Offline JamesR

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Re: Catechumenate/catechism by long-distance - how can this be done?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2013, 02:58:14 AM »
Well, if you don't have a really ancient, stone-age Priest from the old country who can't even use a cellphone, then you could try Skyping and hear lessons from your Priest via Skype.
...Or it's just possible he's a mouthy young man on an internet forum.
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Offline Deborah

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Re: Catechumenate/catechism by long-distance - how can this be done?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2013, 03:10:08 AM »
Thanks Shanghaiski, Seraphim98 and JamesR for your suggestions. :)

Shanghaiski - thanks for that.  My priest is readily contactable by email and phone.  However, he's very busy at present and doesn't really have time to answer questions that require detailed or lengthy answers, so that might not be the best way to conduct a catechism at this point in time.

Seraphim98 - I think I'm after something along the lines of what your priest took you through (for the theory side, anyway).  Can I ask what readings your priest assigned you?  Wow, 1600 miles away, that's exceptional...I imagine it would've required considerable effort, planning and flexibility on yours and the priest's part.  Two hours is still a considerable distance, but pales in comparison to 1600 miles. 

My parish is three hours away and I get there roughly every 2 months, so the situation is not so extreme.  However, I'm not going through any formal or structured form of catechesis.  Up to this point, most of my 'learning' has consisted of reading any books I can get my hands on, attending DL, OC.net, and asking the priest questions as I think of them.  The lack of structure and grounding in the basics (Orthodox theology, life and practice) is starting to tell, though...I haven't retained much of what I did read months ago (unfortunately I did not take notes as I read, and I no longer have the books to refer to), not sure how to answer questions about or defend Orthodoxy when questioned/grilled by local Protestant Christians, or how to live and deal with current life issues in an Orthodox way.  I'd like to start doing things a little differently, so will be in touch with my priest soon to see if we can work something out.

JamesR...my priest is definitely none of those things, but thanks for the (possibly unintended) humour - it gave me a laugh and a bit of light relief never goes astray! :D  Skyping could work, we've had a few discussions that way...possibly if he sent me reading material by email, I work through it in my own time, return any assignments or set work by email, and conduct any follow up discussion by Skype.

Thanks for the suggestions guys, you've given me a few more ideas to run by the priest.  If anyone has other ideas, please throw them this way! :)

Thanks
Deborah
Live in South/East Auckland, Franklin or North Waikato regions of New Zealand? Interested in Orthodoxy? Need transport to an Orthodox Church? Want to meet others? Please send me a PM :)

"You have made us for yourself, Lord; and our hearts are restless until they rest in You" - St. Augustine (my patron saint)