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Chaldean Cashes in on Obama Inaugural Frenzy
By Sam Yousif :: Monday, January 19, 2009 :: 40228 Views :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment

Washington DC, USA – Chaldean businessman Andy Shallal looks to capture and convert that energy into capital.  Not the type of energy that turns on your lights or moves your car.  The energy of millions of people pouring into the Washington DC to participate in Obama’s Inauguration is prime for celebration and prime for businesses. 

Although Andy Shallal, a native of Virginia has never been to an inaugural ball he sure plans to make the best of this one.  Shallal owns a number of restaurants around the DC area and is known in private circles as a peace proponent. 

So in celebrating the excitement and capturing the energy of the crowds, Shallal is hosting is own star-studded inaugural ball that just might capture the new president’s attention. 

Shallal’s celebrity-studded, sold-out Peace Ball at the National Postal Museum today is one of at least 80 unofficial gala events that are drawing people from across the country, along with the 10 coveted official balls where Barack and Michelle Obama are scheduled to appear.

"We, the peace movement, need to be at the table and not on the fringes as we have been for so many years," Shallal said, adding that the peace community has high hopes for Obama. "The ball is like being at someone's wedding. We wanted to be at a very important tradition of bringing in a new president."

Shallal's Peace Ball will feature Harry Belafonte, Joan Baez, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, Bernice Johnson Reagon and younger and international peace musicians, as well as activist writers, comedians and commentators. More than 1,000 people have bought tickets, and Shallal said that 600 more are on a waiting list. Peace Ball tickets were $165; some VIP tickets were still available for $1,000.

"It should be a very interesting crowd," Shallal said. Like all hosts of unofficial balls, he's holding out hope the Obamas might just go off-schedule and squeeze in a visit.

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.