Pastoral Care


Pastoral Care

The purpose of pastoral care is to cultivate the healing, transforming presence of the living Christ in the lives of the people within the parish and beyond. In the Orthodox Church, the sacraments and liturgical services are central to pastoral care. Beyond the sacraments, pastoral care takes place in a variety of forms and includes everything from hospital or homebound visitations, to informal discussions about faith and life, to offering a pastoral presence in a time of crisis. Please call the Church office at 734-332-8200 (secretary@stnickaa.org) if you would like to arrange pastoral care for yourself or for a member of your family.

Home and Hospital Visitations
The clergy and visitation committee of the Philoptochos will visit shut-ins, the hospitalized, and others who need prayer and support. The clergy also offer the Sacraments of Confession, Unction, and Communion. If you or a family member would like a visit in the hospital or at home by a priest, please call the church office at 734-332-8200 (secretary@stnickaa.org) and give the full name (the name under which they have been admitted to the hospital) of the person to be visited, the name and location of the hospital and whatever additional information you think may be helpful. The parish also has an intercessory prayer list of the first names of the sick and suffering. It is published in every Sunday bulletin. Contact the church office to include someone’s name.

Confession
The gift of God's forgiveness is received through private prayer, corporate worship, the disciplines of prayer and fasting, penitential services and above all through the sacrament of Holy Confession.

The value of Holy Confession is twofold. First, through this sacramental act of the ordained priest and the Christian believer we have the assurance of divine forgiveness, according to the words of Christ (Jn 20:23). Secondly, Holy Confession provides the opportunity to talk about one's deep concerns, to receive counsel and to be encouraged toward spiritual growth, all of which are universally recognized as extremely beneficial to personal life.

Holy Confession is appropriate whenever an Orthodox Christian feels the need for it. It is also a part of our total spiritual preparation during the fast periods leading up to the great feasts of Easter, Christmas, the Falling Asleep of the Theotokos and the Feast of Twelve Apostles. Confessions are heard by appointment, contact the Church office at 734-332-8200 (secretary@stnickaa.org).  [read more]

Spiritual Direction
"Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel."   - 1 Corinthians 4:15

Spiritual direction in the Orthodox Church involves fostering the healing and spiritual growth of people in a sacramental, liturgical, and community context and through a personal pastoral relationship with one’s spiritual guide – aka “spiritual father” or “spiritual mother.”

Therefore, in addition to participating in the services and sacraments of the Church and in addition to personal prayer, reading scripture and practicing the spiritual disciplines, every Orthodox Christian should seek spiritual direction from a trusted, mature and faithful spiritual father or spiritual mother. Ideally, one’s spiritual father will also serve as one’s father confessor (in the case of a spiritual mother, one can go to her for spiritual counsel and advice and also go to a father confessor for the sacrament of confession). While this is usually one of the designated roles of parish clergy, some individuals have a pastoral relationship with a spiritual father who is not connected to the local parish.

If you haven’t already done so, please speak with your priest to arrange spiritual direction.

Blessing of Home or Business
By custom, homes and businesses are blessed following the Great Feast of Theophany (January 6). Upon invitation, a priest will come at a mutually agreed time to lead a brief prayer service that includes the sprinkling and drinking of holy water. Since this is such a large parish, members may also pray and then sprinkle their home or business themselves with holy water from bottles provided at church. A two-page handout contains an appropriate order of prayer for those who wish to do this themselves. Items useful for the service: icon, candle, censer, cross, small bowl of water, bunch of basil or other leafy green. This is done by appointment. Please contact the Church office at 734-332-8200 (secretary@stnickaa.org) to arrange your home or business blessings.

Pre-Marital Counseling
Pre-marital counseling is offered (and required) for all couples seeking to be married at Saint Nicholas. The counseling involves teaching the couple about the nature and purpose of the sacrament of marriage in the Orthodox Church. In addition, addresses certain practical concerns in marriage in an effort to help couples navigate their way through marriage successfully and to identify (and if possible resolve) areas of difference that may become a source of conflict later.

Three sessions of pre-marital counseling are given by a parish priest to any steward (and their future spouse) in good standing of Saint Nicholas who is planning to be married. This is done by appointment and is kept in confidence. Please contact the Church office at 734-332-8200 (secretary@stnickaa.org) to arrange your premarital sessions. Should the issue(s) be beyond their competency or schedule, they will make referrals to spiritual fathers, professional counselors and therapists or centers that are compatible with the Orthodox Christian faith.

Marital Counseling
The clergy and trained counselors are also available to counsel and work with married couples who may either experience difficulties or who simply wish to work on their marriage. This is done by appointment and is kept in confidence. Please contact the Church office at 734-332-8200 (secretary@stnickaa.org) to arrange your marital counseling sessions. Should the issue(s) be beyond their competency or schedule, they will make referrals to spiritual fathers, professional counselors and therapists or centers that are compatible with the Orthodox Christian faith.

Grief Support
An invaluable resource that provides moral and spiritual support to those who are grieving a loss in their lives, whether from death, illness, disability, unemployment or significant change. Regular social gatherings and informal support are offered. In particular, the parish welcomes people from all faith communities. This is done by appointment and is kept in confidence. Please contact the Church office at 734-332-8200 (secretary@stnickaa.orgto arrange your grief support. Should the issue(s) be beyond their competency or schedule, they will make referrals to spiritual fathers, professional counselors and therapists or centers that are compatible with the Orthodox Christian faith.

Offering Names For The Living
For mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, protection, forgiveness and the remission of sins of the servants of God. Names are typically submitted during the 40 days leading up to Christmas, and on the Saturday of souls but can also be submitted throughout the year.