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New Chaldean Priest Ordained in Michigan
By Neda Ayar :: Monday, July 20, 2009 :: 36733 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Michigan, USA – The Chaldean community welcomes their newest Catholic priest, Fr. Rudy Zoma, 28, of the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle.  On Saturday, July 4th, Chaldeans from all over joined the ordination Mass of the new priest.  Guests, seminarians, and visiting clergy from across the globe participated in the celebration.

Fr. Rudy is the third American Chaldean priest with five other American born seminarians to soon graduate and join the prestigious rank of priestly vocation among Chaldeans. 

“Fr. Rudy is an incredible person,” says Britney Allos.  “He really is involved with the younger generation and is a great speaker.  He can be serious and he can be funny.”  Fr. Rudy Zoma helped establish an English youth bible study at Mother of God Parish and was instrumental in helping the Chaldean parish soccer team repeatedly win the indoor Catholic College classic championship over Ave Maria, St. Mary MTS, and the other college teams.   “The amount of guests who arrived to his ordination celebration is a testament to his leadership and community support,” said Anthony Sako, parishioner of Mother of God parish. 

[Photos at the end of the article]

During the ceremony Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim announced that Fr. Rudy would be assigned to St. Joseph Parish in Troy, Michigan and invited him to speak directly to the congregation.  Fr. Rudy thanked the guests for their support and in his sermon reminded parishioners that his vocation is a witness to the church of martyrs who have sacrificed their lives since Christ walked the Earth proclaiming the Good News.  “For 2,000 years we have been killed for our faith in Jesus.  Yet we multiply and spread throughout the world,” Fr. Rudy said. 

The newly ordained priest went on to passionately proclaim the need for persecuted Christians to share their love of Christ, without fear in Iraq and without Shame in America. 

Following the ordination were numerous parties and gatherings including the Chaldean Diocese hosting an outdoor community congratulatory gathering.  Desserts and refreshing drinks were given to thousands of guests as folks mingled, received “First Blessings”, and congratulated Fr. Rudy.  (For photos of the congratulatory gathering readers are asked to click on the hyperlink at the end of the article.)

Becoming a Catholic priest is much like studying for any other vocation. Participation in studies to become a priest does not obligate one to finally be a priest any more than going to law school means one must become a lawyer. Usually to become a priest, one must fulfill many requirements.

How does one become a priest?

There are two defining steps to becoming a priest, and both of them are very important.

Step #1: Internal Discernment

This part may involve many years. Some people think about priesthood for a long time - even from youth. Some, after discovering the call, act on it right away. Others discover this call only later in life (for some, much later). Here some of the ways that often help to bring one’s call into focus: Reflection, prayer, and listening to God.

•    Being involved in one’s parish
•    Going to Mass regularly
•    Receiving the sacraments
•    Getting involved in some type of Christian or community service
•    Trying to live a good Christian moral life

The Director of Vocations (at the Chaldean Diocese of St. Thomas the Director of Vocations is Fr. Frank) directly facilitates the on-going discernment process for individuals interested in becoming candidates for priestly formation.
 
Step #2: Priestly Preparation

Programs to assist Chaldeans interested in the diocesan priesthood include:

The Affiliate Program - This program is primarily for men 18-40, and is designed for those potential candidates in the early discernment stages of their call to priesthood. Interested men meet monthly for discussion, support and prayer. This program is for potential candidates who are open to the possibility of priesthood.

Seminary Program - If you are accepted by the Vocation Office as a Chaldean diocesan priesthood candidate, then you will attend a seminary. The seminary program will focus on: your formation as a priesthood candidate, theological studies, and your spiritual journey. Candidates usually have to take one or two years of philosophy studies in addition to theological studies, prior to graduate-level theology.

Chaldeans interested in a priestly vocation can contact St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Parish at

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd. West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460

Photos of Fr. Rudy’s Ordination Part I

Photos of Fr. Rudy's Ordination Part II

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.