I was born in Oslo, Norway, and raised in the Roman Catholic Church. I was baptized, received the First Holy Communion, and Confirmation in the Roman Catholic Church in Norway.
I started to serve by the altar at the age of eight, after receiving the First Communion. I continued with this service through my teens, and into my twenties. Two of the most memorable times were when I was asked to serve during the Papal Service in Oslo, in June 1989, when Pope John Paul II visited Norway and the other Nordic countries, and in 1993 when the Roman Catholic Church of Norway celebrated the 150 years’ anniversary for the return to Norway. These were two great moments, but every time I was able to serve by the altar was always very special for me. I also went to Catholic Summer Camps more or less every summer from the age of 11, and Easter Camps from when I was 15. First I went there as a participant, then at the age of 20 I went to my first summer camp as a leader. The next ten years, most of my free time I spent with the Catholic youth movement, as leader at camps, and as a member of the National Board. For two years I was elected the President of the Norwegian Young Catholics.
I graduated as an Electrical Engineer with a Bachelor's degree in 1994, and started working at Nemko in Oslo, Norway, in September 1995. In 2000 I moved to London to work for Nemko UK, and in 2003 I moved on to Italy to work with Nemko Italy.
The summer of 2004 would become a turning point in my life. I was asked by my best friend from Norway since the age of 7 or 8, to be his Best Man in Michigan, where he now worked after taking his Master of Science degree at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He had there met a girl, and they were now to get married in the Greek Orthodox Church in Livonia. The Maid of Honor was the sister of the Bride, and one thing followed the other. Lia and I kept contact first through e-mails, then longer and longer phone calls across the Atlantic, then we started going to see each other more or less every second month. And, I started to research if it would be possible for me to transfer from Nemko Italy to Nemko USA in San Diego.
At the end of August 2005 I flew into San Diego and started working at Nemko San Diego. Lia also came down from Michigan, and in October 2005 we came to Saint Anthony the Great Orthodox Church. I knew at this time that Lia was my wife-to-be, and that we were to get married here at St. Anthony, but I was not so sure that I would leave my Roman Catholic faith behind. The Roman Catholic Church had been such a big part of my life, and I could not see that I ever would find another Church that could give me more. But, I have always been open to other Churches, and in addition to going to Saturday evening Mass at a nearby Roman Catholic Church, I also went with Lia to St. Anthony on Sundays. Also on those Sundays when she had to work I went to Liturgy at Saint Anthony. I also participated in the Catechumen classes given on Sunday to learn more about the Orthodox Church as an extra part of my own preparation to get married to Lia at Saint Anthony. On July 29th, 2006 Lia and I got married at Saint Anthony by Very Rev. Fr. Jon Braun.
Fr. Jon came up to me before Liturgy the Sunday before our wedding and asked whether I was ready to be Christmated. He said if I was he would gladly do so, but I told him that I was very honored, but I still felt that I needed some time, and a few more classes as a Catechumen. I waited for another year, and on July 29, 2007, on our first wedding anniversary, I became Orthodox.
At this point the thought about serving again had come back to me, and I now saw the possibility to serve while being married. I still, though, felt it was too early, even though Fr. Jon Braun was on to me on more than one occasion.
In 2008, Very Rev. Fr. John Kent Reimann came to us as our new Shepherd. And, he has been a big blessing for the parish and me. At the end of 2008 we had a talk, and from the beginning of January 2009 I started to serve as an Altar Server.
Then, on January 17th, 2010, His Grace Bishop JOSEPH tonsured me as a Subdeacon here at Saint Anthony. I am planning to start the Saint Stephen’s course in Orthodox Theology, and I hope that I one day will become a Deacon if that is the will of God.
Yours in Christ,
Subdeacon Hallvard Blomgren
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