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Pontifical Babel College in Baghdad Finally Returned to the Chaldean Catholic Church
By Huda Metti :: Saturday, November 15, 2008 :: 159995 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Order, Government & Society, Chaldean Churches

Baghdad, IRAQ – After ongoing threats, attacks, and kidnappings Chaldean seminarians, students, and staff fled the centuries old Pontifical Babel College in Baghdad.  Abandoning the building to safer territory in northern Iraq, the staff had no choice says the dean of the college. 

A short while after, U.S. military occupied the building as a “combat outpost” and fortified base of operations for the 4th Cavalry Squadron of the First Mechanized Infantry Division, and then by the 2nd Squadron of the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.

The controversial move by the U.S. military fueled Iraqi Christian conspiracies of collaboration between Chaldeans and the United States.  Radical Islamic leaders used the building as evidence to further persecute Christians as conspirators.  Although Iraqi Christians were innocent in the taking of the building, the appearance was enough to recruit hundreds of terrorists and cause animosity between Iraqi Christians and fanatical foreign Muslims. 

Iraqi Chaldean leadership begged the U.S. to vacate the building, but the requests went ignored.  The Army, just now is transferring the property back to the church, Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Jacques Ishaq of Baghdad, rector of the college, reported.  "The Americans decided to leave the buildings and have signed an agreement to restore the damaged parts and replace what was destroyed," including classroom furnishings, he said.

Chaldeans have been moving ancient artifacts and century hold manuscripts around the country in order to protect and preserve the items.  Priceless relics of 1st century Christianity, books in Aramaic, journals, diaries, paintings, sculptures, and other pieces were lost when churches were fire bombed and ransacked by Islamic terrorists. 

The Pontifical Babel College in Baghdad contained some of the more profound writings of Christian history.  The college staff feared the books, saintly relics, and historical items would be lost forever. 

Fortunately the library suffered no damaged, he said, because the Army sealed it when they took over the buildings.  The Chaldean bishop added it would take Army engineers a couple months to finish restoring the complex.

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Comments from the following blog entry: http://thecatholicbeat.sacredheartradio.com/2014/08/26/bishop-of-bagdad-issues-prayer-challenge/

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.