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2008 Yaldo Family Reunion Highlights
By Camp Chaldean :: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 :: 121055 Views :: Article Rating :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment, Community & Culture, Camp Chaldean

Michigan, USA - On July 27, 2008 over 1200 Yaldo guests attended the 1st Annual Yaldo Family Reunion. The Yaldo family gathered at the Saint George Chaldean Camp in Brighton, Michigan. The heart and soul of the 1st annual Yaldo reunion began with the hard work invested by the dedicated volunteers, which was headed by Father Basil Yaldo.

The Yaldo family originated from Telkaif, Mosul, Iraq. A great number of the Yaldo family migrated throughout the cities in Iraq. As the years progressed the Yaldo family began to settle in the United States. In fact, an ever-increasing number call areas of Metropolitan Detroit home today. The new generation has been successful in reaching high educational attainment. They carry many successful positions such as doctors, lawyers, business entrepreneurs, accountants, engineers and so forth.

The Yaldo family is honored to have Father Basil Yaldo as the only Yaldo priest in our community. He was born in 1968 in Telkaif. He completed high school and also earned an associate’s degree in Education and Teaching. Following his associate’s degree, Father Basil attended the seminary in Baghdad. In 2001, Father Basil continued his education at the seminary in Rome where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Theology.

By 2002, he was ordained as a priest. He later continued his education and attained his Master’s degree in Theology. Father Basil later began teaching Theology at the Babylon Seminary. One of his biggest accomplishments was when he became a personal advisor to the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church, Emmanuel Dally, who currently also serves as Cardinal. Father Basil was later kidnapped by the extremist, but was released by the graces of God. Currently, he resides in Michigan at Saint George Chaldean Catholic Church.

The organization of the Yaldo reunion began with Father Basil Yaldo presenting the idea at the Yaldo family meeting. Father Basil encouraged the support of other Yaldo members. As he began to receive support, the volunteer committee formed.

July 27th began with volunteers coming together to set up the Yaldo reunion. The weather was filled with clear skies, warm temperatures and excitement ready to begin the festivities. Moreover, the Chaldean Camp was a beautiful site- a landscape filled with trees, a lake, and many cabins located around the area.

As the guests began to arrive the volunteer members started to help guest get situated. The guests were provided with an itinerary for the day and t-shirts were also sold, which aided in donations towards St. George Chaldean Catholic Church.

Throughout the day music played, while children had the option of having their face painted or bouncing on a moonwalk. Children were also treated with a special performance by a magician.

For adults, they had the opportunity to interact with other Yaldo families, whom they may have never seen nor met. However, the most important and exciting event of the entire day took place at 4 pm with Father Basil presiding over an outdoor mass. This highlighted event conveyed the importance of coming together as one family through Christ.

The mass paid special tribute to the deceased Yaldo family members. He also offered special prayers of prosperity to the Yaldo family, peace in Iraq and for the sick as well as the entire population of suffering refugee Christians in and out of Iraq.

After the mass, the festivities continued with food, socializing among family, and photos to capture the moment along with video footage. Volunteer members also had a moment to speak about the family tree that was presented. The family tree was constructed in both Arabic and English.

Yaldo members can access the tree at, which will allow members to access information about any Yaldo family member. Overall, the turnout of the event brought great happiness not only to all the family members who attended the event, but the one’s who could not share in the moment.
Highlights of Event:
• Donations went to St. George Chaldean Church

• Tug of War against (Upper / Alayih) & (Lower / Khtaya). NO WINNERS!!

• Proceeds from T-Shirt sales, Family Tree sales, and Mass collections went to St. George Chaldean Church along with a portion to The St. George Chaldean Camp.

The event was to signify the importance of bringing together not only the Yaldo family, but all Chaldeans.

To View photos of the Yaldo Family Reunion please CLICK HERE.

Written by Pinel Yaldo, Bridget Yaldou, Kamal Yaldo and Rafed Yaldo.

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.