The Mysteries of Baptism
Baptism in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church is known as the Mystery of Illumination and is always accompanied by the reception of Holy Communion and Chrismation (Confirmation). What do we believe about this Holy Mystery?
- By this Mystery the person is initiated into the Christian community.
- Baptism bestows upon a child the treasure of divine life, igniting a sense of true freedom proper to being the Children of God.
- Baptism introduces the child into the family of all believers, that is the Church –a new family, one that is beautiful, loving and reasonable; we come to understand that we are adopted children of God, brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
- The baptized person is entrusted to the truth, goodness, beauty of God, who is a source of light and love. By Baptism we are born into a “new life”, who protects and defends the baptized forever against all evil.
Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Eucharist –all three Sacraments are given by a priest, and always in the same ceremony. The ancient tradition, as one of the Melkite priests explained, “is communion as a baby when you’re baptized, but that changed over the centuries in the west. In the east, in the lands of Christ in the middle east, communion is at baptism. You get baptized, you receive the sacrament of confirmation, and you receive the Eucharist all in the same day as an infant.”
Preparation to receive the Holy Mysteries is required –please speak to Father Dennis or Deacon Georges.
***The Melkite Church does not have a “First Communion” ceremony because the Holy Eucharist is given at the time of baptism and the person (the child) continues to receive the Eucharist all days afterward.
The Mystery of Crowning (Marriage)
Couples must contact Father Dennis at least six months prior to the desired date of the wedding.
To initiate the marriage preparation process or if you have questions for weddings taking place at Saint Ann’s.
The Mystery of Reconciliation (Confession)
“Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained” (John 20:23)
These words of sacred Scripture reveal to us that through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection reminds us of the fundamental gift of our redemption and the power given to the Church to forgive sins. The Sacrament of Confession bestows on us the gift of having our sins forgiven, reconciling us with God and with others.
Faith, reason and experience tells us there is no sin that cannot be forgiven. Our approaching the throne of mercy with humble and contrite hearts is an incredibly beautiful gift. No evil is more powerful than the infinite mercy of God.
The Confession of Sin is offered prior to or following the Divine Liturgy on Saturdays and Sundays. You may also make an appointment with Father Dennis to receive the sacrament.
The Mystery of Anointing (of the Sick)
The Anointing of the Sick is routinely offered during the Divine Liturgy on Sunday or during pastoral visits by the priest to the hospitalized, the homebound and ill parishioners. The Mystery of Anointing is given to anyone who is seriously ill or grown more fragile with age. This Mystery is appropriate for someone preparing for surgery. If there is the slightest and remotest danger of death, the Sacrament ought to be given.
When we speak of The Last Rites, on the other hand, we understand that certain sacraments are given in anticipation of one’s death. The Last Rites can include three Sacraments: Penance (Confession), Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Eucharist. Anointing within the context of the Last Rites is less for physical healing than it is for spiritual healing and strength as we prepare to meet the Lord of Life, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Please let Father Dennis know if you will be in the hospital or are at home and want a visit or have other special spiritual needs.
The Mystery of Holy Orders (Diaconate and Priesthood)
For the diaconate or the priesthood (men only) please contact our vocations director Father John Azar.
For the monastic life (men and women), speak with either Fr. Azar or Bishop Nicholas.