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Chaldean Patriarch Appointed to Serve as Cardinal to Holy See
By Evon Elias :: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 :: 84976 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture

It is a blessed gift: to receive the strong calling of becoming a priest. The duties that follow, the hardships that may emerge, and the affection that must be kept for each of God’s children are only general areas on which the priest must focus. But there comes a time in the lives of certain priests where they are ordained to a higher standing, calling and importance. They are given the opportunity to do something more with the world, to really help make a difference.

Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, embarked upon his vocation the day he was born, on October 6, 1927. From there the days passed and as soon as December 21, 1952 came along, he was ordained a Priest. Throughout the ten years that followed, among his already many responsibilities and obligations, in the month of December 1962, he had taken on the titles of Titular and Auxiliary Bishop and confirmed on December 26, 1962 as such, but on April 19, 1963, the devoted follower of Christ really took on his role as Bishop, when ordained at the young age of 35.

The beautiful elevation of his faith and rank continued on when just a short time ago, on December 3, 2003, the day Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly instigated a new chapter in Chaldean history and officially took on the title known by the world as, “Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly: Patriarch of Babylon for Chaldeans.”

 In fact, the late Pope John Paul II wrote a letter to Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, expressing his happiness and affection for him and his days to follow:

To H.B. Emmanuel III Delly
Patriarch of Babylon for Chaldeans

Your Beatitude, I received with great joy the letter, full of deep trust in the Lord, in which you announced to me your election as Patriarch of Babylon for Chaldeans.
As I offer you my fraternal good wishes and encourage you to trust in the prayer of the entire Church, I very willingly grant you the requested ecclesiastical communion, in conformity with the sacred canons, together with the assurance of my fraternal charity.

May the Lord, Pastor of pastors, fill you with all his graces so that you may carry out your new ministry for the glory of God, the consolation of those entrusted to your fatherly solicitude and the good of the universal Church.

As I entrust you, Your Beatitude, to the All Holy Mother of God, I accompany these sentiments with my fervent remembrance in prayer that your patriarchal mission may be comforted by fruits of good in abundance.

As I exchange a fraternal embrace with you and with all the Members of the Holy Synod, I impart an affectionate Apostolic Blessing to you which I gladly extend to the Bishops, priests, consecrated men and women and all the faithful of the Patriarchate.

From the Vatican, 3 December 2003

 “Beatitude,” so intense a word, yet so pure and steadfast. While the date-facts may be stated, the titles do not make for what the person does in life. Taking on the leadership of the Chaldean population in such a pious manner means upholding a position to guide the hundreds of thousands of followers, which were blessed to be born with the spirit of the Lord, and ensure that they keep close to the Creator of every creation. With this, portraying eternal loyalty, in all measures, is something that cannot be obtained by a mere feeling, but by pure love to Our Father and a desire to truly please Him and share His word.

Over the years, Mar (Patriarch) Emmanuel III Delly became recognized for his spirit of respect and cooperation with leaders and citizens alike, and even with those of a different faith, primarily Muslims.  His many contributions range from: the building of new churches, the establishment of the College of Babylon (being a theology and philosophy institution), supervising Chaldean convents and monasteries, watching over numerous religious journals and publications, especially in relation to Chaldeans, and his noteworthy administrative abilities and charming love heartily expressed and shared with his people.

Moreover, on November 12, 2005, in Vatican City, for the occasion of a special synod being held in Rome by Chaldean bishops, Pope Benedict XVI received Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, and declared, “I think you for your visit, which enables me to send, through you, words of great encouragement to your communities and to all the citizens of Iraq.  My expression of solidarity is accompanied by assurances of mention in y prayers, that your beloved country, even in its current difficult situation, may not lose heart and may continue on the road towards reconciliation and peace.” Stated words may result in some form of change, but expressions from the Papal heart are completely and absolutely amorous, heartening and spoken first by God Himself.

With all of this in mind, the reason of celebration finally comes to play: On Wednesday, October 17, 2007, Mar Emmanuel III Delly was identified in an unexpected address by Pope Benedict XVI as one of the 23 new ‘Princes’ of the Church!

The Holy Father started off by stating: “... the new cardinals come from various parts of the world… the universality of the Church, with the multiplicity of her ministries, is clearly reflected in them.  Alongside deserving prelates who work for the Holy See are pastors who dedicate their energies to direct contact with the faithful.” Of the newly designated Cardinals, 18 of them are under the age of 80 years, leaving them capable of voting incase the need may arise for the successive Pope.

However, before the Holy Father continued on with the list of names, he proclaimed, “three venerable prelates and two worthy priests [for their] commitment and service to the Church.” His Beatitude Emmanuel III Delly is one of the names following this citation because he will bear the title, but because he is over 80 years old, will be ineligible to vote. Nevertheless, those who will follow will, quite possibly, have that capability, as God may will it to be.

But what was most interesting was “the honoring of the esteemed Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad, Emmanuel III Delly. This appointment reflects the Holy Father’s deep paternal concern for Christians in Iraq who are suffering horrid persecution and martyrdom for their faith. The Patriarch was an outspoken opponent of the American entry into Iraq and is an impassioned defender of the minority Christian population…Pope Benedict XVI has also been a vocal opponent of the Iraq War and recently appealed for the immediate release of two priests kidnapped in Mosul.”

And so, with of this combined the total number of Cardinals is now brought to 202, 121 of which are potential voters.

Mar Emmanuel III Delly is scheduled to be ordained as Cardinal in a special ceremony that is to take place on November 24th, 2007.

Our prayers are with Him and the future of the Chaldean community. May every amendment made always be for the better, in our eyes and in God’s. And may the Heavenly Father help us to achieve great victory in our faith. God Bless You.

**A list of all 23 newly-named Cardinals are as follows:

-Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

- Archbishop John Patrick Foley, pro-grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

- Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

- Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum."

- Archbishop Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Peter's in the Vatican, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City and president of the Fabric of St. Peter's.

- Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

- Archbishop Raffaele Farina S.D.B., archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church.

- Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco Vicente of Valencia, Spain.

- Archbishop Sean Baptist Brady of Armagh, Ireland.

- Archbishop Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, Spain.

- Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris, France.

- Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, Italy.
- Archbishop Theodore-Adrien Sarr of Dakar, Senegal.

- Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India.
- Archbishop Francisco Robles Ortega of Monterrey, Mexico.

- Archbishop Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, U.S.A.

- Archbishop Odilio Pedro Scherer of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

- Archbishop John Njue of Nairobi, Kenya.

- His Beatitude Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq.

- Archbishop Giovanni Coppa, apostolic nuncio.
- Archbishop Estanislao Esteban Karlic, emeritus of Parana, Argentina.

- Fr. Urbano Navarrete S.J., former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University.

- Fr. Umberto Betti O.F.M., former rector of the Pontifical Lateran University.

* Information is this article was provided by the site designed for the Vatican, Catholic.org, and Catholic-Hierarchy.org.

Ms. Elias writes for www.CHALDEAN.org and publishes her work in the religious and spiritual section of the community website.  Comments regarding this article or suggestions for future articles can be sent to info@chaldean.org or directly to Ms. Elias at WithHisLove48@yahoo.com

St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  

Rev. Frank Kalabat

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.


Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.