Baptism Archive

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A Message From Fr. Lou – “WITH THE FEAR OF GOD, IN FAITH AND IN LOVE, DRAW NEAR”

“WITH THE FEAR OF GOD, IN FAITH

AND IN LOVE, DRAW NEAR”

 

CHRIST IS RISEN!  TRULY HE IS RISEN!

 

After well over 40 days of preparation, hopefully taking an introspective look at ourselves in relationship with God and one another, re-living the Week of Passion and the Crucifixion of our Lord and then celebrating His glorious and life giving Resurrection, where are we now? What is this time really about for you and me here, today?

In order to answer these questions, let’s re-examine the first centuries of our Christian Faith. The Lenten preparation for Pascha was initially about baptism. Adults, some of whom had prepared for as long as three years, went through their final days of preparation for illumination into the Faith in the 40 days prior to Holy Week. Their baptisms were then celebrated on Pascha Sunday in the Divine Liturgy of the Resurrection. Can you imagine how they must have felt, when they heard for the first time, after such a preparation, the words of the deacon or priest, “In the fear of God, with faith and love draw near”, inviting them to receive Holy Communion with the faithful? Their months and years of preparation surely would have brought them to a fear or awe of God. After all, this God—above imagination, All-Powerful—submitted to become a simple and humble man, taking the sins of humans on His shoulders. He died for all and for each person, so that all and each person might live eternally. “What God is so great as our God…” they must have felt.  And surely they believed in Him. No god of the pagans was a god like God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. No God became a man, died and resurrected like Jesus. No god of old was All-Powerful and yet All-Humble, with them yet separated from them, visible yet invisible.

And then, there was love. The fear or awe of God is most about recognition of God’s love for humankind and for each person. When the deacon or priest invited them to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord for the first time, he invited each of them personally, by their new Christian name, as the “servant of God”. The love of God, at that moment must have become for each of them, deeply intimate. Their time of preparation, of study, of commitment in faith, of prayer was realized as the warmth of “the cup of salvation” permeated their very being. The Bread and Wine transformed, now the Body and Blood entered and completed every member of their body so that they became a new member of the Body of Believers, the Body of Christ.

So, where are we now, centuries later? What is this time of Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha really about for you and me? We are invited to live anew, to renew our own baptism with fear and awe, with faith and commitment, and ultimately with love.  We are invited to accept once again, the eternal love for us of our Lord and God, allowing Him into our lives most intimately and personally so that He may be our Lord and Savior and we His servants. We are invited to allow His love for us to set us free to love Him, by loving one another. This IS what it is all about. “With the fear of God, in faith and in love draw near.”

On behalf of our clergy and Parish Council, I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to make this year’s holy days and Pascha so beautiful and special – our choir, chanters, acolytes, Philoptochos and Ministry Teams, cookers, bakers, cleaners, decorators, philanthropists, volunteers and staff.  Glory to God for all you do.  May His Resurrection shine brightly in your hearts today and always.  Until next year . . . (Kai tou  chronou!)

 

CHRIST IS RISEN!  TRULY HE IS RISEN!

 

With our Lord’s blessings, Fr. Lou

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A Message From Fr. Lou A New Year – A New Beginning

A NEW YEAR – A New Beginning

“As sins consist mostly of malice and pride, it is necessary to treat everyone who suffers from the malady of sin with kindness and love. This is an important truth, which we often forget. Very often we act in the opposite manner; we add malice by our anger, we oppose pride to pride. Thus, evil grows within us, and does not decrease; it is not cured – rather it spreads.” (St. John of Kronstadt.)
“If we have true love with sympathy and patient labor, we shall not go about scrutinizing our neighbor’s shortcomings. As it is said, ‘Love shall cover the multitude of sins,’ (I Peter 4:8)…True love screens anything of this kind, as did the saints when they saw the shortcomings of men. Were they blind? Not at all! But they simply would not let their eyes dwell on sins.” (St. Dorotheos of Gaza).
With our entry into another New Year, we prepare for the celebration yet again of the Feast of Theophany or Epiphany, literally, “the manifestation of God,” or simply, “the manifestation.” On January 6th, our focus is upon the baptism of Jesus and the manifestation of God in Trinity, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, ”…when He had been baptized… behold the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him and suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.’ ” (3:16-17). Historically, immediately following His baptism, our Lord went into the wilderness, fasted for forty days and was tempted there by the devil. Conquering these temptations He returned to Galilee and began His three year public ministry with the words, “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt.4:17)
As we begin this New Year in preparation for God’s Manifestation (Theophany) it is in the context of these words from our Lord, that I share with you the quotations from above. We understand “repentance” as a change in mind, a return if you will, to God. The outcome of that re-focus on God, is a different perspective towards our fellow humans. It involves a perspective of humility, compassion and love – emanating from God’s Grace. Humility allows us, when we see another’s sins to recognize that we too, are sinners. We have that malady as well with a constant need for soul healing from our Lord. The temptation to scrutinize another’s shortcomings will, through humility turn back to our own need for forgiveness from God. This leads to compassion. Because of our own sin – by propensity and choice – we are one with other sinners – co-sufferers if you will – “sympathoi” – in need of God. This takes us to a call from the depths of our being upon Him for help, for forgiveness, for love. And then our Lord delivers. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have life everlasting.” (Jn 3:16).
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which means, ‘God is with us.’” (Mt.1:23)
It is the Love of God towards us that allows us to abide in the security of it’s comforting embrace – even in the midst of our shortcomings. Then we desire to love God from the depth of our being. As this love goes out from us towards God: it naturally embraces those around us; it naturally casts out the evil one who hates love; it naturally is patient; is kind; is not jealous or boastful; is not envious or rude; it naturally believes all things; hopes all things; endures all things. Love never ends. (I Corinthians 13).
A new beginning. As we begin this year of 2014, may it be a year of our Lord. In His Grace and Love may we in humility and with compassion, love Him and our neighbor as our self.
Have a most blessed and Godly New Year,
Fr. Lou

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A Message From Fr. Lou – “Thanksgiving” …

A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU

Thanksgiving

 

With the beginning of the Ecclesiastical Year 2013-2014, we enter into the 30th year of the existence of our Saint Catherine Parish. Many who were baptized at Slaven’s Elementary School and some who were baptized after our Saint Catherine’s Temple was completed, have now baptized their own children under the protection of Saint Catherine the Great Martyr. The faithful of this Parish have accepted into the “communion of saints” faithful from various Orthodox backgrounds and pilgrims from a variety of Christian traditions and ancient faiths who have chosen to call Orthodoxy their home. We glorify our Lord for His Divine Presence, love and grace. We thank our Lady the Theotokos, and the Great Martyr Catherine for their intercessory prayers and protection. Finally, we thank our founding fathers and mothers and you the faithful who have accepted their leadership mantle to live eucharistically – in thanksgiving.

Evharisto – the root of Eucharist, which means “thank you”, is such a powerful word. Its core “charis” means “grace”. It’s prefix “Ev” means bless. When we therefore thank God – first and foremost – we “bless” our Loving Lord for the grace given to us. Now grace by definition is a free gift, undeserved, if you will. That free gift begins with our life itself and continues with everything that is in us and that we have. Of course, the Eucharist refers to Holy Communion as well. We therefore live in perpetual thanksgiving, in communion with God and one another. This state of being and the attitude of thanksgiving associated with it has at its core our healing from the fall of original sin – through God’s love and grace .

In this 30th Ecclesiastical year of our Saint Catherine Parish, we again offer ministry and participation opportunities for all our parishioners – young and old alike. These are outlined later in this publication. Please take a moment to see where there are ministries to serve your needs and areas where you might serve in thanksgiving to our Lord for the spiritual gifts you have received. If you have any questions about any ministry please refer them to the Ministry Leader, or Alina Buzdugan, our Ministry Teams Coordinator.

May we all have a most blessed and beautiful 2013-2014  Church Year celebrating 30 years of communion in Thanksgiving to our merciful and Loving Lord and God – Father Son and Holy Spirit.

This is the year of the Lord!

With His blessings, Fr. Lou

 

 

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Preparing for Baptim

Holy Baptism
Thank you for your interest in planning a baptism at the Annunciation! The whole Church – in this world and in Heaven- rejoices when a person is united to the Body of Christ through Holy Baptism.  Your decision to baptize your child –or to be baptized yourself- in the Orthodox Church is an indication of your love for the Church and for her sacramental life. Holy Baptism is the cleansing of a person’s soul from sin.  It is also one’s initiation into the Church instituted by Christ Himself who was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.

Arranging Your Baptism
After reading this information, please contact the church office to arrange for a meeting with one of our priests pertaining to the needs and requirements of your baptism.

Setting the Date
An individual or a family desiring baptism should contact the church office before setting a date for the baptism so that scheduling conflicts can be avoided.  Please note that in addition to other scheduled events, there are certain days in the Orthodox Liturgical calendar on which baptisms are not permitted.

Spiritual Presuppositions
It is pre-supposed that the person to be baptized has not been baptized before since our Creed expressly states that we believe “in one baptism for the remission of sins.” On the other hand, since the Orthodox Church does not recognize the baptisms of every “Christian denomination” there are instances when re-baptism is necessary. If you or your child has already been baptized, your priest will determine whether or not another baptism is necessary, in accordance with the rules of the Metropolis of Denver.

If you or your child’s previous baptism is accepted , you will be received into the Orthodox Church through the sacrament of Holy Chrismation.

Prayer and Fasting
If you are twelve or older and in good health, you should also prepare for your baptism through prayer and fasting.  Remember, you will also be receiving the sacrament of communion (and chrismation) at your baptism. Ask your priest for his guidance regarding how to pray and fast prayer and fast to prepare for your baptism.

Godparents
The “nouno” or “nouna”  is the person who will serve as the sponsor of the child or adult, as they accept Christ and renounce Satan and participate in the sacrament. He/she will also serve the extremly serious and important role of being the spiritual “parent” of the person baptized throughout the course of their lives. That said, a sponsor must be an Orthodox Christian “In Good Standing” and a steward/member of his/her parish.    If one is not Orthodox, then this role cannot be fulfilled.

If the “nouno” or nouna”, is from another Orthodox parish, they must provide proof from his/her parish priest certifying his/her active stewardship/membership in the Church.

Visiting Clergy
Orthodox Christian clergymen are welcome to participate in the celebration of sacraments at the Annunciation with the approval of Metropolitan Isaiah and our priest(s).

Photography
Photographs of your baptism are permitted but should not impede or distract from the celebration of the sacrament.  Photographers should be quiet and respectful; the use of a flash is allowed.  If you using a professional photographer or videographer please ask them to arrive early at the Church so that the pries may explain guidelines to them.  Also, please ask guests to be respectful of the professional’s space, for your benefit.

Items Needed
Among the items necessary to celebrate one’s baptism in the Church are the following:
·    small bottle of olive oil
·    cross (necklace)
·    bar of soap
·    large, white bath towel
·    new white clothing (for the person to be baptized)
·    white hand towel
·    white candle (decorated with ribbon if desired)

After the Service
Due to the fact that Holy Oil tends to get on clothing and towels during a baptism, care must be taken when washing them after the service.  Clothes or towels that have Holy Oil on them should be washed in a bowl or basin- not a sink or washing machine that empties into a sewer. The water from the bowl or basin should then be carefully emptied around the foundations of your house, in a flower garden or any place outside where people do not step.

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Infant Baptism

By Jordan Bajis

“Should I be baptized again” Many renewed Orthodox Christians have asked themselves and others whether they should be baptized as adults. I readily understand why this question is asked, for I myself must admit that I did not always feel comfortable about the Orthodox Church baptizing infants. I asked myself several other questions as well: “How can an infant ‘believe and be baptized’?” “Where in Scripture does it show an infant being baptized?” “Is not the baptizing of infants the reason why the contemporary Orthodox Church has a need for renewal and re-evangelization?” [Read More]

 

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Baptism

by Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald

The Sacrament of Baptism incorporates us into the Church, the Body of Christ, and is our introduction to the life of the Holy Trinity. Water is a natural symbol of cleansing and newness of life. Through the three-fold immersion in the waters of Baptism in the Name of the Holy Trinity, one dies to the old ways of sin and is born to a new life in Christ. Baptism is one’s public identification with Christ Death and victorious Resurrection. Following the custom of the early Church, Orthodoxy encourages the baptism of infants. The Church believes that the Sacrament is bearing witness to the action of God who chooses a child to be an important member of His people. From the day of their baptism, children are expected to mature in the life of the Spirit, through their family and the Church. The Baptism of adults is practiced when there was no previous baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity.

 

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