MYSTERIES OF INITIATION

SOURCE: EPARCHY.ORG                             

Mysteries of Baptism and Chrismation

  • It is an ancient tradition of the Church that both adults and infants are baptized.
  • In the Maronite Church, the baptismal candidate also receives the Mystery of Chrismation with Holy Myron on the same occasion as Baptism (CCEO c. 695 §1). Divine Eucharist is not administered until the child reaches the age of reason.
  • Parents, the primary religious educators of the family, and godparents, who represent the Church, proclaim and nurture the faith of the person initiated into the faith. The example of parents is extremely important. They should frequent the Mysteries and be a witness of Christian charity.
  • Parents are to inform the pastor well in advance of the baptism of their child so as to enroll themselves and the godparent(s) in the prescribed sacramental preparation program. Exemption from all or pat of the preparation program is at the sole discretion of the pastor.
  • Before the Mysteries of Initiation may be administered, candidates (if adults), parents, and godparents/sponsors of candidates should attend proper instructional classes. These classes are to be given by a competent parish staff member, e.g., pastor, parochial vicar, deacon, subdeacon, religious education director, lay catechist or catechetical team.
  • The faith of the parents should be firm. For the Mysteries of Baptism and Chrismation to be administered, there should be an assurance that the child will be brought up in the practice of the faith. Postponement, but not refusal of the Mysteries, except in the danger of death, is recommended if there is sufficient doubt with regard to Christian upbringing or parental neglect in active participation in weekly worship. Whenever a pastor legitimately delays the administration of the Mysteries, no other priest should undermine his decision.
    • Godparents serve an important role in the celebration of the Mysteries of Initiation. Parents should, therefore, exercise the greatest care in their choice of godparents. Considerations of faith should prevail over social customs and familial sentiments.
    • At least one of the godparents for Baptism should be a Catholic in good standing
    • Catholic godparents to Baptism must present a letter from their pastor regarding their good standing in the Catholic Church.
  • In addition to those requirements of CCEO c. 685, a godparent must be at least eighteen (18) years of age as set by the Particular Law of the Maronite Church.
  • An Eastern non-Catholic may serve as a godparent, provided that the other godparent is a practicing Catholic. A baptized non-Catholic may be designated as a witness along with the Catholic godparent.
  • The Mysteries of Initiation should not be administered in a private home or any other place without serious reason and the permission of the Eparchial Bishop.
    • The requirements for a sponsor of Chrismation with holy myron are the same as for baptism.
    • In conformity with CCEO c. 694, a presbyter may administer Chrismation with or apart from baptism. Eucharist

Mystery of the Eucharist

  • Validly baptized persons, who have attained the age of reason not less than 7 years old, shall be carefully prepared for the First Eucharist. The judgment in evaluating the disposition of a child for the reception of the Eucharist is to be made by the pastor, in consultation with the parents and the catechist.
  • First Communion for Maronite children should be administered in their Maronite parish even if also celebrated in the Catholic school.
  • In order to be properly disposed to receive the Holy Eucharist, communicants:
    • should not be guilty of grave sin; if they are, they must seek to be reconciled with God and the Church through the Mystery of Penance;
    • should have fasted from food and liquids except water (and medicine) for one (1) hour before receiving the Holy Eucharist.
  • Although the faithful are encouraged to receive communion frequently, they are obliged to receive the Divine Eucharist especially during the Easter season, and when there is danger of death.
  • The most Sacred Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is distributed to the faithful under both species by way of intinction.
  • The priest and deacon have the right by virtue of their ordination to distribute the Divine Eucharist. A subdeacon, with the written permission of the Eparchial Bishop may also distribute the Divine Eucharist.
  • Orthodox Christians who are unable to approach their own ministers and who are properly disposed are permitted to receive the Divine Eucharist in Catholic Churches.
  • Those Christians who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church are welcome to the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. However, they are not yet invited to receive Communion until a greater reconciliation is made between the Churches.
  • Those Christians not receiving the Divine Eucharist are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for Christian unity with the Lord Jesus Christ and with other Christians.
  • The regular schedule of the parish Divine Liturgies should be published with sufficient notice to allow the faithful to be present. The time and number of liturgies is left to the discretion of the pastor who is to take into account the needs of his community.
  • The liturgical day of the Maronite Church begins on the evening prior to the date and ends on the evening of the date.
  • The celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord and the Sunday of the Resurrection is recommended for 12 o’clock midnight on the proper date. For special circumstances the pastor is asked to contact the Chancery.
  • Priests enjoying the faculties of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon are permitted to offer two or even three Eucharistic Liturgies per day when there is a pastoral need to do so. A priest may not celebrate the Divine Liturgy more than three (3) times in any one day.
    • The Divine Eucharist is to be reserved and adored with the greatest reverence. The tabernacle should be permanently affixed, locked, and have a vigil light burning before it at all times. The sick and homebound should have an opportunity to receive the Eucharist on a regular basis.
    • A spare key to the tabernacle should be kept in a safe place outside the sacristy and/or church building.
    •  With due regard for intentions of the poor, stipends in the amount of ten dollars ($10.00) or more may be offered by the faithful for their intentions at the Divine Liturgy.
    • The priest can keep only one (1) stipend per Liturgy. If there is more than (1) stipend offered for a Divine Liturgy the other intentions must be either offered on an alternate day.
    • Each concelebrant at a Divine Liturgy can accept a stipend for that Divine Liturgy.
    • One Divine Liturgy per month must be offered by the pastor fore the general intentions of the parish community (pro populo) especially on Christmas, Easter, St. Maron, the Patron Saint of the Parish and the Sunday of the Faithful Departed.
  • Offerings for the celebration of the Mysteries of Initiation and for marriages can be made personally to the priest by the faithful.


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