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Four Catechumen Begin the Journey to Pascha

February 5, 2013

On Sunday, February 3, 2013, Fr. John blessed three inquirers to join the ranks of the Catechumen of the Orthodox Faith, who together with our existing catechumen, will prepare through study and prayer for reception into the Church. We pray that, by the Grace of God, our catechumen will be prepared to receive the sacrament of Holy Chrismation during the solemn services of Great & Holy Saturday, this year — the eve of Pascha, when in the early church candidates would be baptized into the faith and then participate fully in the celebration of Our Lord’s Resurrection.  

During the Liturgy, at the time of the Litany of the Catechumen, the three inquirers approached the altar.  Fr. John read the prayers of reception into the catechumenate, and blessed each.  The new catechumen, for the first time, prayed the Litany of the Catechumen together with the priest, choir, and faithful.  At the conclusion, Fr. John addressed all four catechumen together.  He noted their diligence in their studies thus far, and that their great gifts of intellect and insight were apparent in the course of the Catechumen Class being held each Wednesday night.  However, in presenting a few simple gifts to the catechumen, Fr. John wished to aid their focus also on the life of prayer which is essential for every Christian.

First, Fr. John noted that when a Christian is baptized, they are given a cross to wear around their neck.  He then presented similar crosses, a gift from our choir director, Reader Lasha, which were made in the country of Georgia and fashioned from boxwood, a wood precious to the Georgian people and used in their Palm Sunday celebrations.

Then, Fr. John noted that when a priest is ordained, he is given a Book of Prayers, particularly that of the Divine Liturgy.  He then gave to their catechumen a book of the collected daily prayers, which they should use to aid them in praying throughout each day.

Third, Fr. John noted that when a bishop is consecrated, he is given a prayer rope, which he wears as if it were part of his vesture.  This reiterates the centrality of constant prayer to the ministry of a bishop.  Likewise, Fr. John presented each of the catechumen with a prayer rope, and explained to them its use in the life of daily prayer.

Finally, Fr. John presented them with a set of envelopes, with which they may contribute towards the financial stewardship of the parish and Church at large.  Fr. John noted that this was just as serious a gift as the others, and that it is incumbent upon each Christian to take seriously the sacrificial giving that makes possible the work of the Church and its many ministries.

Fr. John then exhorted the parish to note the example of the catechumen, and reciprocally, to provide a good example of the Christian life to them as the prepare for Holy Chrismation.  Explaining that the parish was particularly blessed in having these four very intelligent, inquisitive, and serious catechumen seeking reception into the Holy Orthodox Faith, and that this was a moment that the parish, together, needed to seize upon, and sustain into the future.  To take serious the charge of our hierarch Bishop Michael for each and everyone to reach and teach to someone — not to mention the Apostolic Commission — we need to continue to provide a thriving example of a Christian community, so that more people may be brought to the True Faith, for the improvement, beautification, and enlightenment of the world — and ultimately, for the Glory of God.

Photos of the reception into the catechumenate may be viewed here.

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