During the next few months of summer and early fall we will occasionally receive new Catechumens before the Divine Liturgy begins on Sunday mornings. In the Greek language, a “Catechumen” means someone who is learning to listen and to hear. Becoming a Catechumen in the Orthodox Church is like becoming engaged to be married. Based on what a person knows, they have decided this is what they really want, and they prepare for “marriage.” This time of preparation, like engagement, is different for everyone, according to their needs. It is a time of intense and rich spiritual formation. A new Catechism class will begin in September.
While the material digested in Catechism Classes is standardized according to the ancient teaching of classical Christianity in all its fullness (dogmatic theology), these classes are only one part of being a Catechumen. Catechism includes learning to pray together (every service throughout the entire Church year); It includes learning to work together (formal workdays/nights and beginning to be responsible for the financial and physical needs of others through tithing and doing things that need to be done); And also learning to play together (common meals, picnics, feasts, recreation times). The classes are actually a reflection time about all one is experiencing in these three contexts above. This is a natural process in our life together, for “We pray what we believe and we believe what we pray.”
If you are interested in becoming a Catechumen in this parish, make an appointment to talk with the priest. However, it is important to note that it is not our custom to rush or push our guests toward this step. Like all of the Holy Mysteries (sacraments), one becomes a Catechumen because that is who they really are in this parish. They are manifesting what is Real and True about them in relation to God and others. Therefore, we respect and value our guests and encourage them to spend at least a year experiencing the cycle of services and building relationships with others in the parish before being received as Catechumens. The best things in life should not be rushed, but each stage savored. St. Isaac of Syria said, “This life is given to us for repentance (i.e., our healing). Do not waste it in vain pursuits.” Being a guest or “seeker,” as people were called in the early centuries, is an important stage of spiritual growth and should not be rushed. In the words of Tolkien, “All who wander are not lost.” Pray for our Catechumens and Catechumens-to-be daily.