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Chaldeans Offer Stability and Growth to Michigan's Economy
By Ray Yono :: Friday, September 13, 2013 :: 32250 Views :: Government & Society
Fewer immigrants are choosing to make Michigan their new home, according to figures released by the Department of Homeland Security.  Only Michigan and Wisconsin are experiencing a drop while other Midwest states show a steady growth.  The nearly 5% decline is attributed to the poor job outlook, poor educational environment, and highly regulated and prohibitive sole proprietorship business environment in both states.
 
A saving grace to Michigan’s challenges in growing a contributing population base are the Chaldeans.   “Michigan is just second to California in terms of its attraction of Iraqi immigrants,” said Kurt Metzger, director emeritus of Data Driven Detroit.
“Primarily the Chaldean community... established itself in metropolitan Detroit,” Metzger said. Studies from Data Driven Detroit reveals that the metro Detroit’s Chaldean population hovers well over 100,000 with a strong majority being entrepreneurs and professionals.  

The hard working and highly professional base is helping Michigan considerably.  Metzger emphasizes that maintaining, and attracting immigrants to the state is critical for revitalizing Michigan’s cities.

“We find that immigrants are very entrepreneurial,” Metzger said. “They’re moving to neighborhoods that have seen disinvestment. They put money into redeveloping. They generate economic activity.”

And while Metzger says Gov. Rick Snyder has been active when it comes to recruiting newcomers to Michigan — even traveling to China this week in an attempt to bring in both businesses and people — more needs to be done to bring the state’s immigration numbers up.

“Michigan needs people,” said Metzger. The type of prosperity that follows with Chaldeans is undeniable.  The small business owners revitalize area neighborhoods often neglected and take significant risk.  The highly valued Chaldean family structure work together to pull resources and learn from one another - a distinct hallmark to their success.  
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.