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English Catholics to hold Mass to show solidarity with Iraqi Christians
By Guest Reporter :: Thursday, June 12, 2008 :: 82150 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

London, UK - The Lord's Prayer will be read in Aramaic at a special Mass celebrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor at Westminster Cathedral next week in support of Iraqi Christians.

At a time when many of Iraq’s Christians have been forced to flee the volatile situation in their homeland, the Mass at 5:30pm on June 16 will offer an opportunity for bishops and worshippers to come together and stand in solidarity with the country’s Christian community.

In addition to the Lord’s Prayer being read in Aramaic – the language closest to Christ’s dialect – the Gospel will be sung in Arabic. The Mass will also allow people to pray for peace in Iraq and also for Iraqi communities here in England and Wales.

According to The Universe, Bishop Crispian Hollis, Bishop of Portsmouth, will be preaching at the Mass and Bishop Alan Hopes, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster with responsibility for Ethnic Chaplaincies, will concelebrate together with other bishops.

During the Mass, special prayers will be said for Archbishop Faraj Rahho of Mosul who was killed in March having been kidnapped after leading prayers at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul; for Margaret Hassan and the many others who have lost their lives in Iraq.

Last month Bishop Hollis and Bishop William Kenney, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, visited Erbil, Kirkuk, and Sulemaniyah in northern Iraq, at the invitation of the Chaldean bishops and shared in the experiences of the people, priests and religious of the area.

The bishops also spent time at the Chaldean Seminary of St. Peter in Ainkawa, a Christian town near Erbil.

Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, who hosted the bishops, told The Universe, “Many people have left their homes, their property and their jobs and are losing their patience, so this visit was very helpful to encourage us to continue with courage and hope for a better future.”

Recently, the Catholic charity for suffering Christians, Aid to the Church in Need, spoke to Fr. Habib Jajou, who will play a part in the Mass as chaplain for the London-based Iraqi Chaldean Christian community.

He referred to the volatile situation in Iraq: “What we want to do is just let people know how serious the situation is for our communities in Iraq – not just Christians but other minorities.”
 

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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.