Who Are You?

"WHO ARE YOU?"

This is a question that was posed to me recently by a family member for whom I was directing the funeral of his brother. I was caught off guard a bit by this question, and indicated I needed to think about it and that I would get back to him. Aside from what his motivation may have been for the question, I needed to look into myself and assess 'Who am I!' In order to answer the question accurately and honestly, I had to decide "WHO AM I NOT!"

In order to answer the question accurately and honestly, I had to decide "WHO AM I NOT!"

I had somewhat of a sleepless night giving this question a great deal of thought. I sought help from the Spirit within me, and the result(s) were (are) shocking to a degree and an eye opener to the Truth which I find liberating!

First off, I consider myself an excellent (well, very good anyway) father to my grown children, but NOT a full time father! I consider myself a very good grandfather to my grandchildren in the Netherlands, but NOT a full time grandfather. I consider myself to be a very caring, compassionate, and concerned funeral director (available 24/7), but NOT always functioning on a full time basis. I suddenly realized we often say "full time" - meaning 40 hours per week, but there are 128 hours beyond the 40 referenced above weekly in our daily lives. So I know and acknowledge that to which I am NOT! I am NOT a full time person at any one thing EXCEPT! I have come to the REALIZATION - a realization I need to keep in the forefront of my thoughts, prayers, and actions on a daily basis! The EXCEPTION! I AM a Christian first, in the Orthodox Faith second, and a servant of the Good Lord always; and that nothing, but nothing takes precedent over this fact. 

I AM a Christian first, in the Orthodox Faith second, and a servant of the Good Lord always; and that nothing, but nothing takes precedent over this fact.

I AM at peace with myself, and yet struggle each and every day in being all I can be in HIS name. I welcome the challenge (as I hope and pray you do as well) and welcome each of you reading this "confession of sorts" as friends.

Blessings always!

Posted on March 19, 2015 .

In an effort to provide updated resources to families confronting the process of saying “good-bye” to a departed loved one, we will regularly be providing new content in the form of articles and interviews. If there is a topic you would like us to address, feel free to send us your suggestion.

Yes You Can / Without Penalty or Loss of Funds

I have been asked on numerous occasions in recent times the following question.

Q.  “Can I (we) transfer my (our) funeral arrangements that I (we) made and paid for in advance from one funeral home to another without paying a penalty?”

A.    YES YOU CAN / WITHOUT PENALTY OR LOSS OF FUNDS!

Posted on March 13, 2015 .

In an effort to provide updated resources to families confronting the process of saying “good-bye” to a departed loved one, we will regularly be providing new content in the form of articles and interviews. If there is a topic you would like us to address, feel free to send us your suggestion.

The Power of Decay for Delay

I received the following letter (actually email) from a gentleman named George (not his real name). As I began to read the email, I immediately wondered why he contacted me. It didn’t take long to understand as I now share his correspondence with you. 

" Mr. Haddad,

          You are probably wondering why I am making contact with you, but I am at a loss to understand several things and am hurting both inside and out. My mom died recently after a brief illness. (Actually she has had her bout of nagging illnesses, but her passing was totally unexpected). Dad died more than 25 years ago (I was 11 when he died). My family has always been Orthodox (Eastern Orthodox), but I and my siblings sadly seldom attend church. Mom always went each Sunday when she was able, but not often in the past 4-5 years. My siblings and I have not been involved with death prior to mom’s passing, since we were all young when dad died.
          For almost a year before mom died, we attempted to have her tell us what she wanted when she passed, but she would have nothing to do with this conversation. She was superstitious; believing if she made it clear what she wanted she would soon die. Two weeks before she passed, she called me and asked that I come to discuss several things that were bothering her. I sensed what she had on her mind. I asked if it was alright to have Jesse (one of my sisters) present – Jesse (not real name) lived 60 miles away. This was O.K. with mom.
          Long story short, we could not find a time convenient for all after suggesting several dates. Finally we decided on a date and time, but as you may have guessed by now, mom passed before we ever had the conversation.
          What transpired thereafter was nothing short of tragic. We did not know where to turn. We knew of a funeral home that buried many Orthodox people, but that was it. We contacted the funeral home and made arrangements to meet with a director. When we arrived another person greeted us and told us he would be in charge of mom’s arrangements. We asked him if he was familiar with Orthodox funerals, and he said, “Of course!” We were uncomfortable with him from the moment we met him. Come to find out he knew little or nothing about the customs and traditions in the Greek Orthodox Church and everything that could go wrong – did go wrong. To compound the situation (and I realize that this firmly rests on our shoulders), we had no relationship with the clergy prior to the funeral.
          After the funeral was over I had a conversation with a business associate who directed me to the web site www.OrthodoxCustomsTraditionsandPractices.com). That evening I read every word on the site and it was all I could do to hold back the tears. If only I was aware of the web site and the wealth of information presented, mom’s passing would have been a lot different. I have shared your web site with everyone I know, and all have been very grateful.
          In addition to the procedures and processes you have clearly posted for all, I have taken special note concerning “prayer.” I pray for mom’s understanding for not coming to her when she asked, for how poorly the funeral arrangements went, and for mom and God to forgive me. Yes, I am dealing with a lot of guilt, but the web site - Orthodox Customs Traditions & Practices has and continues to be a source of comfort for me and my siblings as we move forward.
          Oh, and by the way, all three of us (me and my siblings) and our families have and continue to make every effort to attend services every Sunday (missed only one Sunday since mom’s passing). Thanks for taking the time to read this, and most especially for the content on the web site www.orthodoxcustomstraditionsandpractices.com. It should be required reading for all Orthodox Families and the public as well.

If you have a mind to do so, I would be pleased to speak briefly with you.
Thank you so much.

George (phone number provided)"

eastern-orthodox-funeral-traditions.jpg

I responded to George’s request to speak, and we were on the phone for about 25-30 minutes. I assured George that his mother was in a better place praying for him and his siblings. We agreed on several things – two of which I will share herein. First off, knowledge is extremely important and so too is action. Delay (procrastination) plays into the hands of the devil. What George and his siblings experienced need not have happened. Secondly, reconnecting with the Church as well as establishing a relationship with the Good Lord is a major step forward in the healing process.

We agreed to stay in contact with each other. This young man has a beautiful heart, and I am pleased now to be able to call him a friend. We can all learn much from that which George has freely shared herein.

Blessings,
Philip G. Haddad, Jr.


Posted on February 5, 2015 .

In an effort to provide updated resources to families confronting the process of saying “good-bye” to a departed loved one, we will regularly be providing new content in the form of articles and interviews. If there is a topic you would like us to address, feel free to send us your suggestion.

Philip G. Haddad Jr. Published in Funeral Home and Cemetery News!

We are so pleased to have Philip G. Haddad Jr. featured to share his expertise in the latest issue of Funeral Home and Cemetery News! This will certainly help the mission of OrthodoxCustomsTraditionsandPractices.com in creating a resource for both bereaved families as well as funeral directors in the many details of Easter Orthodox Christian Church's traditions and rituals in the conduct of funerals.

Posted on November 21, 2014 .

In an effort to provide updated resources to families confronting the process of saying “good-bye” to a departed loved one, we will regularly be providing new content in the form of articles and interviews. If there is a topic you would like us to address, feel free to send us your suggestion.

Orthodox Customs Website featured

We are honored to have had a story published in The Worcester Telegram and Gazette. Please take a look at the article and let us know what you think! 

Posted on October 28, 2014 .

In an effort to provide updated resources to families confronting the process of saying “good-bye” to a departed loved one, we will regularly be providing new content in the form of articles and interviews. If there is a topic you would like us to address, feel free to send us your suggestion.

Q&A: Can my husband transfer his funeral arrangements that he paid for in advance from one funeral home to another without paying a penalty?

Ordinarily I would not have attempted to answer this question in this forum, but it was presented to me by a clergyman who was familiar with our web site.  As it was explained to me, the question was posed to him by one of his parishioners.

Posted on October 15, 2014 and filed under Burial, Funeral, Q&A.

In an effort to provide updated resources to families confronting the process of saying “good-bye” to a departed loved one, we will regularly be providing new content in the form of articles and interviews. If there is a topic you would like us to address, feel free to send us your suggestion.

The “Evil Eye” & the Orthodox Church

Is the Evil Eye a reality or just superstition? The answer is quite clear to most of those we have spoken with over the years. Most are firmly entrenched in their position (whatever that might be) on the matter. Convincing them that their position is ill-founded, we have found, is uncompromising.

Posted on October 9, 2014 .

In an effort to provide updated resources to families confronting the process of saying “good-bye” to a departed loved one, we will regularly be providing new content in the form of articles and interviews. If there is a topic you would like us to address, feel free to send us your suggestion.

Cremation & the Orthodox Church

If your interest in this subject: “Cremation & the Orthodox Church” is to know if cremation is allowed in the Orthodox Church, the answer is “No!” and there is no reason to continue to read further.

If your interest in this subject is to learn “Why cremation is not allowed in the Orthodox Church”, then take a few more moments and continue to read on.

Posted on October 1, 2014 and filed under Eastern Orthodox Beliefs, Burial.

In an effort to provide updated resources to families confronting the process of saying “good-bye” to a departed loved one, we will regularly be providing new content in the form of articles and interviews. If there is a topic you would like us to address, feel free to send us your suggestion.