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2008 Yaldo Family Reunion Highlights
By Camp Chaldean :: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 :: 94907 Views :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment, Community & Culture, Camp Chaldean

Michigan, USA - On July 27, 2008 over 1200 Yaldo guests attended the 1st Annual Yaldo Family Reunion. The Yaldo family gathered at the Saint George Chaldean Camp in Brighton, Michigan. The heart and soul of the 1st annual Yaldo reunion began with the hard work invested by the dedicated volunteers, which was headed by Father Basil Yaldo.

The Yaldo family originated from Telkaif, Mosul, Iraq. A great number of the Yaldo family migrated throughout the cities in Iraq. As the years progressed the Yaldo family began to settle in the United States. In fact, an ever-increasing number call areas of Metropolitan Detroit home today. The new generation has been successful in reaching high educational attainment. They carry many successful positions such as doctors, lawyers, business entrepreneurs, accountants, engineers and so forth.

The Yaldo family is honored to have Father Basil Yaldo as the only Yaldo priest in our community. He was born in 1968 in Telkaif. He completed high school and also earned an associate’s degree in Education and Teaching. Following his associate’s degree, Father Basil attended the seminary in Baghdad. In 2001, Father Basil continued his education at the seminary in Rome where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Theology.

By 2002, he was ordained as a priest. He later continued his education and attained his Master’s degree in Theology. Father Basil later began teaching Theology at the Babylon Seminary. One of his biggest accomplishments was when he became a personal advisor to the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church, Emmanuel Dally, who currently also serves as Cardinal. Father Basil was later kidnapped by the extremist, but was released by the graces of God. Currently, he resides in Michigan at Saint George Chaldean Catholic Church.

The organization of the Yaldo reunion began with Father Basil Yaldo presenting the idea at the Yaldo family meeting. Father Basil encouraged the support of other Yaldo members. As he began to receive support, the volunteer committee formed.

July 27th began with volunteers coming together to set up the Yaldo reunion. The weather was filled with clear skies, warm temperatures and excitement ready to begin the festivities. Moreover, the Chaldean Camp was a beautiful site- a landscape filled with trees, a lake, and many cabins located around the area.

As the guests began to arrive the volunteer members started to help guest get situated. The guests were provided with an itinerary for the day and t-shirts were also sold, which aided in donations towards St. George Chaldean Catholic Church.

Throughout the day music played, while children had the option of having their face painted or bouncing on a moonwalk. Children were also treated with a special performance by a magician.

For adults, they had the opportunity to interact with other Yaldo families, whom they may have never seen nor met. However, the most important and exciting event of the entire day took place at 4 pm with Father Basil presiding over an outdoor mass. This highlighted event conveyed the importance of coming together as one family through Christ.

The mass paid special tribute to the deceased Yaldo family members. He also offered special prayers of prosperity to the Yaldo family, peace in Iraq and for the sick as well as the entire population of suffering refugee Christians in and out of Iraq.

After the mass, the festivities continued with food, socializing among family, and photos to capture the moment along with video footage. Volunteer members also had a moment to speak about the family tree that was presented. The family tree was constructed in both Arabic and English.

Yaldo members can access the tree at, which will allow members to access information about any Yaldo family member. Overall, the turnout of the event brought great happiness not only to all the family members who attended the event, but the one’s who could not share in the moment.
Highlights of Event:
• Donations went to St. George Chaldean Church

• Tug of War against (Upper / Alayih) & (Lower / Khtaya). NO WINNERS!!

• Proceeds from T-Shirt sales, Family Tree sales, and Mass collections went to St. George Chaldean Church along with a portion to The St. George Chaldean Camp.

The event was to signify the importance of bringing together not only the Yaldo family, but all Chaldeans.

To View photos of the Yaldo Family Reunion please CLICK HERE.

Written by Pinel Yaldo, Bridget Yaldou, Kamal Yaldo and Rafed Yaldo.

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.