Tuesday, October 21, 2014
St. Thomas News & Information
Latest News & Information

Current Articles | Archives | Search

The Chaldean Community Saving Grace While Saying Grace
By Neda Ayar :: Thursday, July 8, 2010 :: 27158 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Michigan, USA –The Chaldean community has seen horrible devastation as Chaldeans are again persecuted for their Christian faith.  Nonetheless, Chaldeans remain unwavering and continue marching towards their faith amidst distressing struggles. 

“The pain we feel is hard,” says Husam Bodia.  “Our people have been ripped apart for believing in Jesus Christ.  Our women and children have been thrown to wolves; the men tortured and killed.  No matter.  We will not turn away from our faith.  Thank God our church remains.  Our Church is saving our people and our way of life. It is a cold glass of water in the desert.”

Bodia, like many other Chaldeans celebrate the Chaldean Church’s leadership in reaching out to the injured and needy.  “Our prayers have been answered.  We have more priests and deacons ordained than at any time in our history,” Bodia adds that the most recent ordination being Fr. Fawa Kako.  

Kako’s ordination marks another example of the Chaldean Churches in America dramatic and bold steps in serving the community.  Chaldean religious leaders across America have been tirelessly working to organize and prepare for the care and comfort of those in need. 

Chaldean dioceses in America have played major roles in providing food, shelter, education, and employment to those in need. 

In California the Chaldean diocese has led an extensive effort in supporting the influx of immigrants with housing, food, formation of a Chaldean seminary, and an ambitious project of building a school to meet the unique needs of refugees who have lost years of education.

In Michigan, the Chaldean diocese has opened a new church, a mission, is in the process of building a regional shrine, established a community camp, and funded for the education and training of a nearly a dozen of seminarians and deacons to serve the community; a handful of which have met the stringent qualifications to graduate and be ordained. 

This past Saturday, hundreds of Chaldean community members gathered to witness Kako's ordination.  A native of Baghdad, Kako joined the seminary in Iraq, prior to the college being destroyed in the war. At 21, he joined the Redemptorists, a religious order that sent him to Germany to study theology.

Kako came to the United States in 2006 to study at the Catholic Theological University in Chicago.  Two years later, he arrived in Metro Detroit and was assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Warren. He works for a Chaldean mission at the parish helping Iraqi immigrants through social services outreach programs.

Kako said his faith carried him through many dark hours. "God's message is love and peace," said 29-year-old Kako.  Kako said he wants to continue to work with Iraqi and Chaldean immigrants.  They have seen a lot of persecution," said Kako. "It's been a journey for them. They are now in the Promised Land. In the United States, they are free to practice their religion."

Kako's parents, who left Iraq in 2004 to get away from the persecution of Christians arrived to Metro Detroit three months ago from Australia to be part of the ordination celebration. 

The Rev. Manuel Boji, pastor of Mother of God Chaldean Catholic Church in Southfield, said Kako's ordination was a major event for local Chaldeans. "The ordination of a priest is always an important event," said Boji.
 

Rating
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.