Saturday, April 17, 2021
St. Joseph News & Information
Latest News & Information

Current Articles | Archives | Search

Chaldean Thanksgiving is All About Giving
By Rita Abro :: Thursday, November 27, 2008 :: 92251 Views :: Living & Lifestyle, Community & Culture, Government & Society

Michigan, USA – On this day of gratitude, commonly referred to as Thanksgiving, Chaldeans help show the spirit of good will and giving.  Chaldeans throughout the metro-Detroit area are once again out in full force helping their neighbors this thanksgiving.  Chaldean churches, businesses, and Chaldean charity organizations will be giving out well over a thousand turkeys and side foods to needy families.  Chaldean churches and groups like the Chaldean American Ladies of Charity, Chaldean Teens Coming Together, and Chaldean American Professionals plan on distributing thanksgiving meals and turkeys. 

Other Chaldean charity groups like UR of the Chaldees are buying grocery for seniors who live alone. Adopt-A-Refugee-Family is raising funds to help needy refugee families scattered throughout the world.  The Newcomers group is taking underprivileged youth out on field trips.  Chaldean grocery stores and restaurants are also helping. 

Danny Yono, owner of J's Kabob restaurant will provide free Thanksgiving feasts for anyone who can’t afford a meal with the trimmings or doesn’t want to eat alone.  From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, J’s Kabob, 2941 Coolidge, Berkley, will host its second annual free Thanksgiving Day dinner. Anyone can get a carryout of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and rolls.

Owner Danny Yono sets up a tent for his holiday diners to eat outside. He served 300 people last year.  “They were all ages from single people to whole families,” Yono said. “One 77-year-old man was planning to eat macaroni and cheese by himself until one of my customers told him about the dinner.”

Yono won’t say how much he spends to give away hundreds of meals. “I don’t keep track,” he said. “I can tell you the experience is priceless for me. It’s a good feeling.” Yono doesn’t even want a simple thank you for all the shopping and cooking.  “I tell people, ‘Don’t thank me. Thank God. Without him I couldn’t do it.’”

Talal Tooma of Starlight Liquor and Deli in Detroit is giving away free turkey sub sandwiches to his neighbors in need.  “We are in a very poor section of Detroit.  Some of the families are only able to eat one meal a day if their lucky.  We work with the local Catholic Church and donate food from the deli during the year.  On Thanksgiving we make over a thousand free lunch bags for our neighbors.  We include an 8” gourmet deli sub, a side of mash potatoes, coleslaw, pickle, and drink,” says Tooma. 

Sandy Shammas of Gold N Crust bakery in Sterling Heights donates hundreds and hundreds of loaves of bread to soup kitchens, Churches, and Michigan food pantry.  “God has blessed us and we have to show our appreciation by helping others.  We give away fresh baked bread to help those who are feeding God’s children.  We just delivered about a hundred loaves to a church who will use the bread during their thanksgiving meals for the needy.”

Economic estimates place charitable giving by Chaldeans in the multiple millions annually to local neighborhoods, schools, churches, and charities.  “It is part of our culture, our faith, our people,” says Sam Sesi, Detroit school teacher.  “The kids in my class did not have school supplies.  I mentioned how hard it was to some of my friends.  The following weekend a handful of my friends brought me ten boxes of school supplies for the children in my class.  It is just the way we are.”

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.