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Bishop Francis Ordained to Lead the Faithful
By Rita Abro :: 54409 Views :: Chaldean Churches

On June 14, 2014 the ordination of Fr. Frank Kalabat, of the Eastern United States Chaldean Eparchy (Diocese) will be held in Southfield Michigan.  Hundreds of thousands of faithful followers across the globe are estimated to watch the live event.  The humble priest, born in Kuwait in 1970, and ordained a priest in 1995, was selected by Pope Francis to succeed Bishop Ibrahim to lead the Chaldean faithful in the United Sates.  

Born in Iraq, Bishop Ibrahim was named by Pope John Paul II in 1982 to head the American eparchy (diocese) for Chaldeans. It is separate from the Archdiocese of Detroit but still has allegiance to the pope. Known as the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle, it once covered the entire U.S.

In 2002, the diocese grew so large in divided into a Western and Eastern half of the U.S. There are 105,000 Catholics who are members of the Eastern diocese, said the Vatican news release. Many of them are in metro Detroit, which has the highest concentration of Chaldeans in the U.S.

Fr. Frank recently served as the pastor of St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church in West Bloomfield.  Known for his inspirational and passionate sermons the modest priest is adored by the community.   Fr. Frank will be taking on the name of Bishop Francis and plans to continue his mission to bring Christ into the lives of all.   

Kalabat will be formally installed among some of Michigan’s most influential religions leaders.  In attendance will be Archbishop Allen Vigneron, head of the Archdiocese of Detroit, and numerous other world leaders. 

The event is being streamed live on EWTN, Satellite TV, and via the internet at www.stthomascc.org

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Mart Mariam Chaldean Catholic Church Grotto Unveiled
By Rita Abro :: 58874 Views :: Chaldean Churches
In 2011, Mart Mariam Chaldean Catholic Church was re-located to 2700 Willow Road in Northbrook, on the corner of Pfingsten and Willow Roads. The sprawling 10 acre landscape has supported the resplendent parish adding an activity hall, small school, and rectory to a picturesque and easily accessible campus.
 
In September 2012, Fr. Fawaz Kako,C.Ss.R. and myself, along with fellow parishioner Salem Estefan, discussed building a proper grotto (maghara) for the existing Mother Mary statue residing at the front entrance of the church. I welcomed the responsibility and pursuit of such a significant shrine as a gift from the Hikmat Yacu family to our church and all of its faithful parishioners.
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Chaldeans Find Refuge in East Tennessee
By Rita Abro :: 89321 Views :: Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

A group of religious refugees are finding a home in East Tennessee. Chaldean Catholics, native to Iraq, are fleeing their home country to avoid persecution.

Many Chaldeans are tortured, even murdered over their religious beliefs. There are an estimated 150,000 Chaldeans in the United States, including over 100 in East Tennessee. On Saturday, Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim of the St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Chaldean Diocese, which covers the Eastern US, said mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville to help teach local Catholics about the Chaldean's plight.

"Usually they believe that all Iraqis are Muslims, but no, we are Christians even from the beginning, before Islam was there, Christians were there," Bishop Ibrahim said.

Joining him are members of the newly formed organization "Iraqi Christians in Need".

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Keeper of Iraq’s Past and Caretaker of Iraq’s Christian Future Passes
By Rita Abro :: 61646 Views :: Chaldean Churches

Baghdad, IRAQ – Chaldean Bishop Andreas Abouna of Iraq died this past Tuesday, July 27th, 2010.  The 67 year old Bishop suffered from ongoing kidney complications and passed in an Erbil hospital located in northern Iraq.  Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, presided at Bishop Abouna’s funeral at St Joseph’s Cathedral, Ankawa, near Erbil.

The ailing Bishop was known for his peaceful calls, optimism, and concern for the youth of Iraq.  Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil described him as a pastor who was “always smiling, even in very difficult situations”.  Amid his increasing health problems, Bishop Abouna remained in war-torn Baghdad.  Without care for his own well-being the Bishop often held youth events and activities.  He counseled young Iraqis of all faiths as increasing horrific violence pervaded their daily lives.  The bishop also responded to a shortage of priests by serving at the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption, in the one of Iraq’s most dangerous city’s in the Al Mansour district.

Bishop Abouna was born on March 23, 1943 in the village of Bedar, outside the northern Iraqi town of Zakho.  At the age of 14, he joined St Peter’s Seminary, then based in the northern city of Mosul, and was ordained a priest for the Chaldean Catholic Church on June 5, 1966.

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Baoutha Begins for Chaldeans - 3 Days of Fasting
By Rita Abro :: 99177 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Chaldean Churches

The English word breakfast, in fact, means the meal that breaks the fast.  Fasting is on the mind of many Chaldeans as they enter their second day of a three day Baoutha fast.  Fasting is the voluntary avoidance of something that is good. When Chaldean Catholics talk about fasting, they normally mean restricting the food that they eat. Depending on the fast, Chaldeans will abstain between meals and the more disciplined and spiritual Chaldeans will fast from mostly all food.

While fasting takes the form of refraining from eating, it is primarily a spiritual discipline designed to tame the body so that the faithful can concentrate on higher things.

Annually Chaldeans fast for three days in observance of Baoutha; a community promise made to God centuries ago. (Click here to learn more about Baoutha)

This year Community leaders are asking Chaldeans to turn their prayers and alms towards the needy of Iraq.  Death tolls continue to skyrocket in Iraq over unsafe conditions and lack of security.  “To put it in perspective it is like ten Haiti in Iraq,” says Andrew Ishaya of Turlock, California.  “It sure would be nice for to have a $60 million telethon for the war causalities.  Until that time, I will use my Baoutha Fast as an appeal for mercy to the innocent men, women, and children of Iraq.  And whatever money I can save from my fast I will donate to an Iraqi orphanage my church is helping to support.”
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Chaldean Church in California Attacked by Vandals
By Rita Abro :: 66167 Views :: Chaldean Churches

CALIFORNIA, USA — Chaldeans fled to the United States to escape Christian persecution by fanatics and anti-Christian zealots.  However, Chaldeans in Turlock, California awoke this past weekend to a frightening occurrence of vandalism and Christian hatred. 

Surveillance camera recorded three men destroying and then stealing a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in front of the Our Lady of Turlock fountain outside St. Thomas Assyrian-Chaldean Catholic Church.

Parishioner David Yonan, 49, reported the vandalism when he arrived for Sunday morning prayers at 7 a.m. and noticed the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary missing.  According to the video’s time stamp the crime occurred Saturday at 11 p.m. in the evening. 

"It was devastating," Yonan told reporters. "All the ladies were sitting there crying. It looked like a funeral."

The surveillance video shows a man climbing the steps of the fountain, then throwing the $3,000, Italian-made statue to the ground. Another man comes and takes the damaged statue. All that was left were porcelain shards that once made up the back of the statue's head, Yonan said.

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Chaldean Symphony at the GSO - Middle East Meets West
By Rita Abro :: 133131 Views :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

California, USA –The Grossmont Symphony Orchestra (GSO) have been invited to play along with world class Chaldean musicians in the presentation of “Middle East Meets West.”   The GSO, under the musical direction of Dr. Randall Tweed, is a seventy-five member orchestral ensemble comprised of music and non-music majors, and talented musicians from the community.

The orchestra, whose musical performance home is El Cajon's own "East County Performing Arts Center" (ECPAC), performs a large variety of concerts from serious classical "arts" performances to lighter "pops" entertainment. Local and nationally reputed performing artists are frequent soloists with the GSO.

The St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church in El Cajon helped organize the appearance of special guest artist and world class violinisht Luay Yousif. Yousif, born in Baghadad in 1979, has performed with the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. He has lived in the U.S. since 2007.

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Chaldean Scholar Awarded Catholic Woman of the Year
By Rita Abro :: 139979 Views :: Career & Education, Community & Culture, World News & Odds 'N' Ends, Chaldean Churches

London, UK – Chaldean scholar, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Dr. Suha Rassam was named as one of the four Catholic Women of the Year at a reception in London this past week.  The founder of the charity Iraqi Christians in Need (ICIN) was honored among an assembly of some of the world’s most notable leaders and in the presence of the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Faustino Munoz.

Dr Rassam is originally from Mosul in northern Iraq. She is a medical doctor and professor of Medicine in the University of Baghdad. Arriving to England in 1990 she worked in London hospitals until her retirement when she took an MA in Eastern Christianity at the school of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London.

Dr. Rassam, author of the book 'Christianity in Iraq' set up ICIN  last year with a group of fellow Iraqis, to provide financial and spiritual support to Iraqi Christians both in Iraq and in countries such as Syria and Jordan, where many are now refugees.

Earlier this year, she visited Iraqi refugee families in Syria to assess how best ICIN could help them. In Aleppo, she met with Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo of the Chaldean Catholic Church and Bishop Yuhanna Ibrahim of the Syrian Orthodox Church.  Since then her impact in helping Iraqi refugee families has been remarkable. 

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Sydney Chaldeans at World Youth Day 2008 Share their Joy and Sorrow
By Rita Abro :: 30 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Sydney, AUSTRALIA – Australian Chaldeans in Sydney have been wildly celebrating World Youth Day.  The excitement, exhilaration, and energy has been intoxicating says Joshua Shami, a Chaldean pilgrim from Europe.  Chaldean youth from around the world have gathered in Sydney in celebration of World Youth Day. 

“We continue to pray for our Chaldean brothers and sisters stuck in Iraq,” says Shami.  For many Chaldeans in Austrialia, the joy of welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to the World Youth Day celebration was dampened by the absence of a Chaldean Catholic delegation from Iraq.  “For months people have been working on getting the Iraqi Delegation to Sydney, but it is one thing after another stopping them.” 

[To View Photos of WYD-Sydney Group Please Log-In]

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Only 27 out of 140 Chaldean Iraqis Receive Visas for WYD
By Rita Abro :: 99895 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, World News & Odds 'N' Ends, Chaldean Churches

Catholic News Agency reports that the Australian Embassy in Amman, Jordan has issued 27 visas which will allow some young Iraqis to participate in World Youth Day.  Initially 170 Chaldeans applied for Visas to participate in the largest gathering of world youth Christians in history.  True to their faith, the Chaldeans still expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the Australian government for allowing 27 delegates.

“I would like to thank the Australian government for everything they have been able to do and also the Australian embassy to the Holy See which has contributed to this positive ending,” Father Philip Najim, Chaldean Prosecutor to the Holy See, said.  “Many in Iraq were waiting for this.  It is a symbolic number of visas but our youngsters will be in Sydney too and that’s what counts.”

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Australia Denies Visas to Iraqi Chaldean WYD Pilgrims
By Rita Abro :: 144337 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Government & Society, Chaldean Churches

The Catholic News Agency reports that the Australian government has denied visas to dozens of Chaldean World Youth Day pilgrims from Iraq.  Australian officials say they are concerned that participants will not return home and instead will seek asylum in Australia. One Chaldean Catholic priest called the decision “a slap at young people who wanted to go to witness to the faith and the joy of the church’s living in Iraq despite sufferings.”

Initially the Australian government denied visas for nearly 170 pilgrims, allowing only ten visas to aspiring World Youth Day participants, the SIR News Agency says. According to the website Baghdadhope, there are now only about 30 total visas available that will be granted “in extremis.”

Father Rayan P. Atto, parish priest of Mar Qardagh Church in Erbil, told SIR News Agency that the concerns about asylum seekers were unfounded, arguing that, “for young Christian Iraqis, taking part in the WYD in Sydney was not a way to leave their country.”

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40th Anniversary of Msgr. Sabri’s Priestly Ordination
By Rita Abro :: 83220 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Chaldean Churches

 

الذكرى الاربعين للرسامة الكهنوتية للاركذياقون صبري قج

في الاول من حزيران احتضنت خورنة مار ميخا احتفالا بمناسبة الذكرى الاربعين للرسامة الكهنوتية للاركذياقون صبري قجبو. اقام الاحتفال اعضاء المجلس الخورني ، علامة شكر وتقدير للخدمة والعمل الدؤوب الذي يقوم به المونسنيور صبري خلال حياته الكهنوتية بدءا ببغداد مرورا بديترويت وانتهاءً بسان دييكو.

حضر الحفل كل من سيادة راعي الابرشية مار سرهد يوسب جمو، والاباء ميخائيل بزي، وبولس خمي، وفيليكس الشابي، واندرو  يونان. كما وايضا عدد من الاخوة الشمامسة، وجوق الكنيسة، وعدد من ابناء الرعية.

تضمن منهاج الحفل كلمات القاها كل من السادة كامل سالم رئيس مجلس الخورنة، والدكتور سامي جهاد اذ قرأ نبذة مختصرة عن حياة الاب صبري وخدمته الكهنوتية، ثم قام الشماس الانجيلي عصام يدكو بتلاوة التبريكات على راعي الخورنة، ثم قدم  الجوق هدية جميلة الى راعي خورنتهم.
واختتم سيادة المطران المنهاج بكلمة مؤثرة عن الخدمة الكهنوتية، اعقبها بصلاة ومباركة العشاء. 

مبروك للاركذياقون صبري قجبو ذكرى رسامته الاربعين، نتمنى ان يعينه الرب لتتميم مشواره ويعضده لخدمةكلمة الانجيل الح

California, USA - The Chaldean Diocese of the American West (St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Diocese for Chaldeans and Assyrians) celebrated the 40th anniversary ordination of Msgr. Sabri.  The event was hosted by St. Michaels Parish. 

Among the guests were Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo, Fr. Michael Bazzi, Msgr. Paolis Khami, Msgr. Felix Shabi, and Fr. Andrew Younan, diocese deacons, parish choir, and both invited and faithful guests.

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Chaldean Fathers Honored at the Inaugural 'Honor Thy Father' Community Dinner
By Rita Abro :: 27 Views :: Living & Lifestyle, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Michigan, USA - It is no coincidence that nearly 1,000 fathers had to lose their life 100 years ago for the right message to be heard. That message is that we love our fathers, but how and why did they lose their lives.  Most of those that died were Italian immigrants, writes Fr. Eugene Francis Briggs (1908-2006), a Catholic priest and a Fitchburg native who dedicated much of his life to the study of the Monongah disaster.  A tragedy by any standards, whereby on December 6, 1907, there was a mining disaster at the Consolidated Coal Company in Monongah, West Virgina that claimed their lives.  It is still considered the worst mining disaster ever.

In the spirit of those fathers that the First Father’s Day was born of the father’s role of provider and the risk he takes as a laborer throughout the country, being a primary wage earner.  “The same holds true to for our Chaldean fathers,” says Tom Issa, a father of three.  “Our Chaldean fathers literally climbed mountains and crossed oceans to provide and protect their family.”

Issa adds that Chaldean fathers continue to take incredible risks providing for their families.  “They work very long hours in some of the most horrible conditions, trapped in bullet proof and risking their lives.  It is good that we acknowledge, celebrate, and honor their sacrifice to our family and community.”  Issa speaks of the inaugural “Honor Thy Father” dinner hosted by Mother of God Church in Southfield, Michigan.  The dinner brought over 400 Chaldeans out for a night of dinner, entertainment, and applause for Chaldean fathers. 

{Must be a registered member of www.chaldean.org to view the photos of the 2008 Father / Son Celebration Dinner}

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Chaldeans Celebrate Baoutha This Week
By Rita Abro :: 115213 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Baoutha is a three-day celebration that is composed of prayers and fasting. 

This annual observance is limited to the Chaldean Catholic Church and occurs exactly 3 weeks before the start of lent. 

In the 6th century a severe plague inflicted the northern regions of modern day Iraq; the ancient city of Nineveh, modern day Mosul, Iraq. 

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Returning The Christian Halloween Holiday
By Rita Abro :: 50050 Views :: Religion & Spirituality


Halloween has grown into a major secular holiday in American culture. For some Chaldeans and their children the holiday still remains a bit confusing and for Americans who don’t value devotion to the saints, the Eve has become "hollow" instead of "hallow." The purpose behind it has been lost—like celebrating New Year’s Eve without a New Year’s Day. Take away the saints and our beliefs about the dignity and destiny of human beings, and the only thing left is pre-Christian superstition regarding the dead.

Among many Christians, there has been concern that things have gotten out of hand. After all, doesn’t Halloween glorify evil? Is it right to send our children out as devils and vampires, or is it better to emphasize the saints, whose nearly forgotten feast day is the reason for Halloween?

Hallow is the same word for "holy" that we find in the Lord’s Prayer, and e’en is a contraction of "evening." The word Halloween itself is a shortened form of "All Hallows Eve," the day before All Saints Day.   In this Update we’ll consider how Chaldean Catholics can "redeem" Halloween. This holiday, properly understood and celebrated with all of its fun trappings, can be a way for us to deepen our understanding of our faith. The key to this understanding is close at hand for Chaldeans in our love of the communion of saints.
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The Art of the 'Thank You' – Celebrating Goodness
By Rita Abro :: 91255 Views :: Health & Fitness, Living & Lifestyle, Religion & Spirituality

California, USA - Wise and thoughtful Chaldean parents continue to harp on their children to honor other people's kindness and generosity.  Most children despise having to write thank you notes.  Sadly, parents who fail to teach their children how to recognize and acknowledge the good they see in others will eventually have to contend with the consequences of a self-centered, ungrateful, and spoiled child. 

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American Catholic Bishops Call For Peace in Iraq
By Rita Abro :: 18 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Government & Society

Washington D.C., USA - Soaring violence against Christians in Iraq – including the alleged crucifixion of a teenage boy in Basra - has prompted the Catholic Church to call for a safe haven to protect minority groups as the country slides toward civil war.

The American Catholic bishops have also asked US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to grant asylum to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians who have fled their homes to escape persecution.

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Australian and New Zealand Chaldeans Get their Own Bishop
By Rita Abro :: 18 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture

Sydney, Australia - Australian and New Zealand Chaldeans will have their own Oceania eparchy or diocese and bishop, the Holy See announced on Saturday.

The President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Philip Wilson, welcomed the creation by Pope Benedict XVI of the Chaldean Eparchy of Oceania with the title of "St Thomas the Apostle of Sydney of the Chaldeans".

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Some 500 People Attend Funeral of Beheaded Iraqi Priest
By Rita Abro :: 73 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Order, Government & Society
 Baghdad, Iraq -Relatives confirm that US$ 350,000 ransom was demanded. Sunni Ulema Council condemns the killing: “a cowardly murder [. . .] committed by people who want [. . .] to start a religious war”. 
 
Some 500 people attended yesterday the funeral of Fr Paulos Eskandar at Mosul’s St Ephrem Church. Father Eskandar, who was abducted on Monday, was founded beheaded some time later.
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Terror Campaign Targets Chaldean church in Iraq
By Rita Abro :: 20 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Order, Government & Society

Mosul, Iraq – There were two new attacks against the parish of the Holy Spirit in Mosul in as many days. A convent of Dominican Sisters has also been struck. These are the most blatant signs of a campaign that aims to throw Christians out of Iraq. Then there is the problem of emigration, a problem afflicting also Shiites and Sunnis.
 
The Chaldean church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul appears to have become the target of a terror campaign. After attacks that took place at the end of September, a group of men opened fire on the place of worship on 4 and 5 October, injuring one of the guards who is currently in hospital.

The violence and continual attack on Christians have been ongoing.  The parish of the Holy Spirit has been attacked since August 2004. As many Iraqi church figures have already claimed, the attacks are part of a twofold strategy.

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Radical Muslims Prove the Pope’s comments by Attacking Chaldean Churches
By Rita Abro :: 17 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Order, Government & Society
Baghadad, Iraq -- A Chaldean and Assyrian churche is attacked in Mosul and Baghdad by Muslim militias.  The fanatics have forced Christians to pin up posters condemning the words of Benedict XVI in Regensburg. But religious leaders, including al Sistani, have expressed their friendship with the Apostolic Nunciature. And the representative of the Iraqi Shiite leader would like to meet the pope.
 
The start of the month of Ramadan in Iraq was marked by violence but also by significant openness by al Sistani towards the Vatican. Yesterday, two churches, one in Baghdad and another in Mosul, were struck. Recently, the country has seen an escalation of attacks against Christians, thought by some to be the reaction of radical Muslims to the speech of the pope in Regensburg. However, religious leaders, among them al Sistani, have shown solidarity and understanding towards the Vatican. Moreover, the representative of the highest religious exponent of Iraqi Shiites has expressed the desire to be able to visit the Pope.
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Chaldean Leaders Call For Calm and Reason
By Rita Abro :: 15 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Michigan, USA  -- "Poor uneducated Muslims are led blindly into ongoing violence and outrage is coached by irresponsible leaders," says Bashar Sitto.  “Moderate and modern Muslims seem to have lost control to the radical fundamentalists who have hijacked Islam.” 

For the oppressed minority Christians in the Muslim dominated governments, like the Chaldeans of Iraq, fear runs high as they remain vulnerable to potential acts of violence of fanatical Muslims stirred to act with hatred.

Supported by irresponsible media bent on sensationalizing the news and highlighting a Muslim-Christian divide even where one does not exist, only contribute to the grave state of sectarian relations in Iraq today.

The world remains stunned at the easy manipulation and hypersensitivity of Muslims, who refuse to accept the Pope’s academic discussion and focus on a quote taken out of context.  Iraqi religious scholar Abdel Hussam Hussain feels the Islamic governments are at risk as more fanatical elements gain control of interpreting Islam.  Hussain feels the threat of an eventual overthrow of current Islamic are in grave danger.

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Chaldean Clergy and Lay Leaders Attend the Synod of Catholic Caucasus
By Rita Abro :: 13 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture

Tbilisi, Gerogia – The Assyro-Chaldean community will be attending the Synod of Catholic Caucasus in Tbilisi, Georgia.  The Synod will gather all the priests, representatives of religious communities and 56 lay people from parish communities (84 people in all) for two residential sessions: the first session runs from September 4 to 8 and the second from November 5 to 9.

Communion of the Church, formation of the faithful and the role of the laity are the main themes of the first Synod of the Apostolic Administration of the Caucasus. The first session of deliberations were inaugurated at 5pm with a solemn celebration in St. Mary’s Assumption church in Tbilisi.

Chaldean clergy and lay leaders will actively participate in addressing issues relating to the Diaspora of the Chaldean people.  Inherent in their struggles, the Assyro-Chaldeans face difficulty ministering to the community while under pressure of war, persecution, forced cultural migration, and adaptation to cultural pressures and customs imposed by hosting countries. 

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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.