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The Chaldean Community Saving Grace While Saying Grace
By Neda Ayar :: Thursday, July 8, 2010 :: 27200 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Michigan, USA –The Chaldean community has seen horrible devastation as Chaldeans are again persecuted for their Christian faith.  Nonetheless, Chaldeans remain unwavering and continue marching towards their faith amidst distressing struggles. 

“The pain we feel is hard,” says Husam Bodia.  “Our people have been ripped apart for believing in Jesus Christ.  Our women and children have been thrown to wolves; the men tortured and killed.  No matter.  We will not turn away from our faith.  Thank God our church remains.  Our Church is saving our people and our way of life. It is a cold glass of water in the desert.”

Bodia, like many other Chaldeans celebrate the Chaldean Church’s leadership in reaching out to the injured and needy.  “Our prayers have been answered.  We have more priests and deacons ordained than at any time in our history,” Bodia adds that the most recent ordination being Fr. Fawa Kako.  

Kako’s ordination marks another example of the Chaldean Churches in America dramatic and bold steps in serving the community.  Chaldean religious leaders across America have been tirelessly working to organize and prepare for the care and comfort of those in need. 

Chaldean dioceses in America have played major roles in providing food, shelter, education, and employment to those in need. 

In California the Chaldean diocese has led an extensive effort in supporting the influx of immigrants with housing, food, formation of a Chaldean seminary, and an ambitious project of building a school to meet the unique needs of refugees who have lost years of education.

In Michigan, the Chaldean diocese has opened a new church, a mission, is in the process of building a regional shrine, established a community camp, and funded for the education and training of a nearly a dozen of seminarians and deacons to serve the community; a handful of which have met the stringent qualifications to graduate and be ordained. 

This past Saturday, hundreds of Chaldean community members gathered to witness Kako's ordination.  A native of Baghdad, Kako joined the seminary in Iraq, prior to the college being destroyed in the war. At 21, he joined the Redemptorists, a religious order that sent him to Germany to study theology.

Kako came to the United States in 2006 to study at the Catholic Theological University in Chicago.  Two years later, he arrived in Metro Detroit and was assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Warren. He works for a Chaldean mission at the parish helping Iraqi immigrants through social services outreach programs.

Kako said his faith carried him through many dark hours. "God's message is love and peace," said 29-year-old Kako.  Kako said he wants to continue to work with Iraqi and Chaldean immigrants.  They have seen a lot of persecution," said Kako. "It's been a journey for them. They are now in the Promised Land. In the United States, they are free to practice their religion."

Kako's parents, who left Iraq in 2004 to get away from the persecution of Christians arrived to Metro Detroit three months ago from Australia to be part of the ordination celebration. 

The Rev. Manuel Boji, pastor of Mother of God Chaldean Catholic Church in Southfield, said Kako's ordination was a major event for local Chaldeans. "The ordination of a priest is always an important event," said Boji.
 

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.