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Author Topic: Who is there to help you through?  (Read 774 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tommelomsky
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« on: January 29, 2013, 03:32:50 PM »

Being a catechumen can be a thankful and joyous ride, but it can also be a challenge in good and bad. Most of all, as of realizing this now in the very now, I should most of all be greatful. So I am. To God. For being alive, being healthy and doing overfall fine.

On march 1st, our last class is done and The Great Lent is just like (almost) three weeks away from then. The question I may for those that has been catechumens before and are now full members of the church, what was this middle-time in between like? Did you study-read or just wait and pray for many months?

The reason for me asking is that the last class is still 30 days away and I was born curious. Not always a good thing. I have been reading a bit in old threads about Godparents/godfather/godmother and has been led to understand that the he/they come into play first when you are to be admitted as fully member of the church?

But what about the meantime? The priest or any of my fellow countrymen in the parish could sure be for help to some level, but it is not fair to ask them to be like spiritual spar-partners for me. I try daily to pray morning/evening, read the scriptures and attend services. When I fall or get in despair, I use psalms 50 and 51. And tells God what is on my mind.

Can one do anymore in the stage I am now? Just weeks away from classes to finish and still got miles to walk.
(Dear me..I do sound more like 4 than 40 now).

« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 03:37:59 PM by Tommelomsky » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2013, 03:46:16 PM »

I always wondered what those catechumen classes were like. Our parish never had them, don't know if it's because it's Greek or what.

My preparation was fairly straight forward in regards to help. I read all the introduction books to Orthodoxy, then moved on to the Church fathers. Went to every service I could (go to Matins, Church starts then, not at Liturgy) for a year. I didn't feel that morning and evening prayers were enough, so I asked for a blessing to do the hours as well. I also got highly involved, helping out with anything I could. Cooking for the festival and working the festival. Helping clean up after coffee hour, doing the dishes, shoveling snow. When you are doing that, you come closer to the parish and you learn a lot from them and they help you feel like family. Our priest also has a reading group at his house every Sunday evening, so that helped as well because I could always ask questions.

My point, go to Church as much as you can. You should grow to love going, and going early. It's a rehearsal for the afterlife. And talk to your priest as much as you can about anything on your mind.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 03:48:02 PM by Peacemaker » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 04:15:27 PM »

Here's the advice my priest gave me: attend as many services as you can, pray regularly, read the Psalms. What about your godparent to be? Or someone that you feel closer to or a friend at church?
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 04:31:42 PM »

I have been attending the divine liturgy weekly since may 1st last year and only missed a few vigils and one vespers. I always look forward to services at church and do also attend at weekly akatists/panihida services at wednesdays and has occasionally done some volunteer work at church.

About asking someone at church about godparent-to-be, I would like that for sure. However, I am not sure how far away or close to conversion my priest regards me to be as we have not had those discussions yet.

All I know is that I got much praying and some more reading to do. But I love attending services, I love the church and know of all my heart that this is where I want to be and be a part of.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 04:32:11 PM by Tommelomsky » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2013, 08:37:11 PM »

Have you talked with the priest about who would be a good Godparent for you?  I had a few people I thought would be nice, and all but one were ruled out for various factors.  I had no idea how much a Godparent has to do to help bring someone into the Church.  There is some financial cost to it as well, as traditionally they buy the baptismal garment, gown (I guess you have suit, not gown), baptismal cross, towels, etc.  That may be a lot for someone depending on their financial situation.  Something to consider.  And some people already have a lot on their plate, like one lady who I love, was caring for her mother who was in steep decline.  Turned out she is my Godgrandparent, lol.

My Godmother would answer basic questions, anything beyond she referred me to the priest.  She says very little to me, but her example, just the way she is, teaches me a lot.  

I would not look for a person to have long debates or anything.  Ask God to help you to find the best Godparent for you.  

I'm wondering how you became a catechumen without a Godparent?  My Nuna was with me when I became a catechumen and all the way through.

I was in a big hurry too, and kept telling the priest, "I could be killed at work any day, so we need to hurry up!"  He stayed firm and on course, and baptized me on Great and Holy Saturday, for which I am very grateful to have come in on that most traditional day.   It was also better because I spent all day praying to God to let me live at least to be baptized, so no accident would befall me before.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 08:41:45 PM by Irini » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2013, 09:18:54 PM »

1. Find a God-parent.

2. Accept help from anyone in your parish that can help you with any issues you have.

3. Do everything you expect to be doing after your chrismation with the exception of taking communion and reciting the pre-communion prayers.

4. Find a prayer book with morning, evening, and pre-communion prayers.
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2013, 09:33:47 PM »

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There is some financial cost to it as well, as traditionally they buy the baptismal garment, gown (I guess you have suit, not gown), baptismal cross, towels, etc. 


In the past couple of generations, Greeks especially have turned prospective Godparenthood into practically a racket, with all the things a Godparent is "expected" to provide for the baptism. The "industry" foisting all this unnecessary frou-frou has a lot to answer for, taking advantage of the honest ignorance of folks who have not been properly informed of what is required. Interestingly, Russians, who are not known for doing things by halves, keep their baptisms simple, reverent and low-key.

The essentials are:

 - a baptismal cross

 - (if possible) an icon of the patron saint of the person being baptized, and/or a prayer book, Bible/New Testament, or other useful and edifying devotional item

 - (for babies and children, not essential for adults) a new garment or outfit to be worn after the baptism. A new outfit for coming to church, and another for the party afterwards is NOT required, neither is a toy box, toys, additional jewelry, or a party the size and scale of a wedding. I'm not making this up! I've seen all of this and more in my time.  Tongue

 - Bomboniere (the trinkets and baubles given as mementos to guests, common amongst Greeks, but unheard-of among Russians and most other Slavs) are not necessary, but, if they "must" be part of the show, it is quite sufficient to have a tulle or organza bag or pouch containing three sugared almonds (symbolizing the Holy Trinity), with a small cross or icon attached. Many craft shops sell inexpensive ready-cut and hemmed circles of netting or other sheer fabric suitable for the purpose.

- A white towel if the church does not have its own. I've yet to come across a church that doesn't have its own towels, but some folks like the idea of a new towel to dry the baptised.

- a candle or candles which the Godparents hold during the ceremony, or, if an older child or adult, the person to be baptized holds. They do NOT need to be the six-foot monsters swathed in elaborate ribbons, a simple white table candle is quite sufficient, perhaps with a white ribbon bow. I've been to plenty of baptisms where the candles used were the thicker size sold at the church.
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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2013, 10:04:48 PM »

Quote
There is some financial cost to it as well, as traditionally they buy the baptismal garment, gown (I guess you have suit, not gown), baptismal cross, towels, etc.  


In the past couple of generations, Greeks especially have turned prospective Godparenthood into practically a racket, with all the things a Godparent is "expected" to provide for the baptism. The "industry" foisting all this unnecessary frou-frou has a lot to answer for, taking advantage of the honest ignorance of folks who have not been properly informed of what is required. Interestingly, Russians, who are not known for doing things by halves, keep their baptisms simple, reverent and low-key.

The essentials are:

 - a baptismal cross

 - (if possible) an icon of the patron saint of the person being baptized, and/or a prayer book, Bible/New Testament, or other useful and edifying devotional item

 - (for babies and children, not essential for adults) a new garment or outfit to be worn after the baptism. A new outfit for coming to church, and another for the party afterwards is NOT required, neither is a toy box, toys, additional jewelry, or a party the size and scale of a wedding. I'm not making this up! I've seen all of this and more in my time.  Tongue

 - Bomboniere (the trinkets and baubles given as mementos to guests, common amongst Greeks, but unheard-of among Russians and most other Slavs) are not necessary, but, if they "must" be part of the show, it is quite sufficient to have a tulle or organza bag or pouch containing three sugared almonds (symbolizing the Holy Trinity), with a small cross or icon attached. Many craft shops sell inexpensive ready-cut and hemmed circles of netting or other sheer fabric suitable for the purpose.

- A white towel if the church does not have its own. I've yet to come across a church that doesn't have its own towels, but some folks like the idea of a new towel to dry the baptised.

- a candle or candles which the Godparents hold during the ceremony, or, if an older child or adult, the person to be baptized holds. They do NOT need to be the six-foot monsters swathed in elaborate ribbons, a simple white table candle is quite sufficient, perhaps with a white ribbon bow. I've been to plenty of baptisms where the candles used were the thicker size sold at the church.

What you outlined for Slavic tradition was pretty much what I experienced.  

Actually, now that I look at your list, all it was was the dress to be baptized, the garment worn afterward that she chose and in which I hope to be buried, the baptismal cross, and lots and lots of olive oil, which Russians it is said tend to scrimp on because it is harder to come by maybe, two candles with little pins of my patron saint with little ribbons on them.  No books or anything else. Some people gave me little cards, or a little icon, but just small tokens, nothing grand. 

It was beautiful. 

But still, I did not realize there was financial cost at all like that.  I don't remember any lunch or snacks or anything, but maybe we did.  Probably not because it is such a long day, and with Pascha coming up.  A gold baptismal cross by itself is not really cheap.  I have seen the little pouches with almonds and a little icon card, or simple little baptismal pins with a little ribbon or something.  

Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned it, I only said it because sometimes in the US people are out of work or whatever, due to the economy, or they have limited means.  There are ways to save on costs, like I borrowed the baptismal gown.  National Geographic had an article about Orthodoxy in Russia, and had a photo of a woman being baptized in a bikini.  

Anyway, the priest might, if the parish isn't too large, be familiar with people's overall situation, and would be the first person one should talk with before asking anyone.  Make a list of people who you think might be appropriate, and ask him first.  Then, approach the person and ask if they would be interested in sponsoring you to come in. (Not you, specifically LBK, but the general 'you').

I didn't know until a few weeks prior that I was to be baptized, so Tom, take heart, and keep praying.  These are blessed days.  May God preserve us.  I'm so happy for you.

« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 10:21:31 PM by Irini » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2013, 10:18:25 PM »

Our own family has always paid or made the froufrou stuff that make the baptism special like the matrika, but the god parents usually provides a cross---my grandchildren's godparents gave them everything from a simple cross handcarved by the godfather to a silver cross with enameling to a beautiful gold Greek Baptismal cross and an icon of their patron/name saint.

The reality is it can be as simple or as elegant as the family wants. the baptism is the real purpose for the event.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 10:18:55 AM by Thomas » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2013, 10:33:24 PM »

God is with you Tom, the saints and the angels, and the entire Church prays for you every Liturgy all over the world with all the other catechumens.
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 10:58:36 AM »

Thank you all for kind words and much helpfull response. Some of these things like baptismal crucifixes, garnets and such, I have to admit that I do not understand all of it yet. But, for now I call it a part of the beautiful mystery.

I am just about to go to church to attend Akathtist and Panihida. As always, it feels good and I am looking forward to it. My priest has now got words from me as suggested, so hopefully he will give me some insight and ideas about when it is right to start look for godfather/godparents,
what criterias there may be and how it is properly done.

Being lutheran baptized as a baby and chrismated in the catholic church as an adult, I am not sure what kind of way it will be. Only God`s will, prayers and time will tell. Smiley
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 10:59:45 AM by Tommelomsky » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2013, 12:07:26 PM »

Dear Tommelomsky,

I'm glad you are eager to draw closer to Christ and His Church!  Orthodoxy is blessedness.

Would it be Baptism & Chrismation or Chrismation, since you have already been baptized?  I know this varies between jurisdictions.  If the latter, it may be a simpler event.   Some of the adults I know who were received into the Church have provided their own cross, it depends on the financial situation. 

love, elephant





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« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2013, 09:12:18 AM »

Dear Tommelomsky,

I'm glad you are eager to draw closer to Christ and His Church!  Orthodoxy is blessedness.

Would it be Baptism & Chrismation or Chrismation, since you have already been baptized?  I know this varies between jurisdictions.  If the latter, it may be a simpler event.   Some of the adults I know who were received into the Church have provided their own cross, it depends on the financial situation.  

love, elephant



Thank you so much for the kind words. Smiley

After a good nights sleep on it, I am so happy too. Glory to God in all things. Orthodoxy is and it has changed my life. Even after a little year of time. It could possibly be any of those you mention. From what I understand, it depends on the priest and Patriarch Kirill (please correct me if I am rude or incorrect now).

About the crucifix or other things, the last thing I want to do is to scare possibly godparents away because of financial things, as I will take care of it myself if so. I just ask for God to guide me and prepare me.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 09:13:17 AM by Tommelomsky » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2013, 12:08:21 AM »

My catechumen time was somewhat difficult. I think the biggest issue is that--due to having a heterodox, somewhat hostile family--I was pretty much on my own. My Priest was pretty much all I had, along with this website. My biggest mistake was that, instead of "experiencing" Orthodoxy at a slow pace, I had to learn Orthodoxy at a fast pace, because, I was constantly being bombarded with hostile questions and curiousities, and I needed to be able to answer them.
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2013, 04:36:39 AM »

My catechumen time was somewhat difficult. I think the biggest issue is that--due to having a heterodox, somewhat hostile family--I was pretty much on my own. My Priest was pretty much all I had, along with this website. My biggest mistake was that, instead of "experiencing" Orthodoxy at a slow pace, I had to learn Orthodoxy at a fast pace, because, I was constantly being bombarded with hostile questions and curiousities, and I needed to be able to answer them.

I do recognize that part of it as I have been a catholic before (did not do my homework well enough back then) and my family is partly being hostile and partly non-caring, but still got a lot to say about the issue. But I just try to remember to pray for them and love them even more than before.

It is not easy at all and when I became catechumen, my priest told me that it would be a bumpy ride. But we just need to go on, carry our crosses and glorify God in all things.
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The meaning of life is to acquire the grace of the Holy Spirit.
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Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)

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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2013, 03:27:04 PM »

Update:

Today a person that I have spoken a lot with and shared several churchcoffees over the last year, actually the first person that welcomed me to the parish, has agreed to be my godparent. It is still one class left and The Great Lent with fasting in due too, but for me it is wonderful news.

So happy and relieved. + Glory to God in all things +
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« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2013, 03:53:04 PM »

Sounds good! Smiley
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