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Elderly Chaldean Lady in Chicago Runned Over in Tragic Auto Incident
By Ann Bahri :: Tuesday, December 2, 2008 :: 63780 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society

Illinois, USA - Mariam Shamoon, a longtime Chicagoan, active in her church and surrounded by family, who admired her for her vibrant lifestyle despite advanced years.  Sunday night, Shamoon, 78, met a tragic fate, cut down by a car.  

Around 5 p.m., Mariam Shamoon was returning from a day of Christmas shopping near her apartment building in the 6300 block of North Kedzie Avenue. As she crossed West Devon Avenue only half a block from her front door, a car turning right on a green light from Kedzie onto Devon struck and killed her.

The driver of the car—Sergio Candelara, 27, of the 3100 block of West Montrose Avenue—was cited for not having a driver's license and striking a pedestrian in the roadway.

Family members gathered at Shamoon's residence Monday said that she had immigrated to the United States from Iraq in 1978, working for a manufacturing company in Niles before retiring on disability. Shamoon lived alone, but she loved to spend time with her brothers and sisters and their children and at her church, Mart Mariam Chaldean Catholic Church, where a service will be held Wednesday morning.

"As long as she was with people, that's it—that's all that mattered," said Shamoon's nephew, Tony Shamoon. "We thought 80 years old, maybe heart disease or old age would take her. We didn't think a modern-day vehicle would take her out."

Mariam Shamoon's brother, Gabriel, said that his sister was always careful crossing the busy streets near her apartment. That Candelara had a green light when he struck Shamoon was little consolation, he said.

"People should yield to animals, never mind a human being, for God's sake," Gabriel Shamoon said.

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.