Sunday, February 28, 2021
St. Joseph News & Information
Latest News & Information

Current Articles | Archives | Search

Iraqi Prime Minister Vows to Defend All Iraqis No Matter What Faith
By Neda Ayar :: Saturday, October 27, 2007 :: 46568 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society

BAGHDAD, IRAQ - Iraq's prime minister pledged Saturday to protect and support the Christian minority that has been fleeing the chaos and sectarian violence in the country. 

The Christian community here, about 3 percent of the country's 26 million people, is particularly vulnerable, and has little political or military clout to defend itself. 

Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Iraqi Christians, who are mostly Chaldean Catholics, have been targeted by Islamic extremists who label them "crusaders" loyal to U.S. troops.

Churches, priests and business owned by Christians have been attacked by Islamic militants.

Seeking better and safer life, over 50 percent of Iraq's Christians are thought to have left the country, according to a report issued by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which advises the White House and Congress.

After receiving the Chaldean patriarch of Baghdad, Emmanuel III Delly, Nuri al-Maliki affirmed his government's readiness and determination to defend the small community.  He also vowed to stop the outflow of Iraqi Christians, according to a statement released by al-Maliki's office.

Delly, who is the head of Chaldean Church in Iraq and spiritual leader to all Chaldeans, has been outspoken about the need to protect minority Christians from Iraq's spiraling violence.

Earlier this month, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Delly a cardinal, when he named 23 new "princes" of the Roman Catholic Church.

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.