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Chaldeans Offer Stability and Growth to Michigan's Economy
By Ray Yono :: Friday, September 13, 2013 :: 46476 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society
Fewer immigrants are choosing to make Michigan their new home, according to figures released by the Department of Homeland Security.  Only Michigan and Wisconsin are experiencing a drop while other Midwest states show a steady growth.  The nearly 5% decline is attributed to the poor job outlook, poor educational environment, and highly regulated and prohibitive sole proprietorship business environment in both states.
 
A saving grace to Michigan’s challenges in growing a contributing population base are the Chaldeans.   “Michigan is just second to California in terms of its attraction of Iraqi immigrants,” said Kurt Metzger, director emeritus of Data Driven Detroit.
“Primarily the Chaldean community... established itself in metropolitan Detroit,” Metzger said. Studies from Data Driven Detroit reveals that the metro Detroit’s Chaldean population hovers well over 100,000 with a strong majority being entrepreneurs and professionals.  

The hard working and highly professional base is helping Michigan considerably.  Metzger emphasizes that maintaining, and attracting immigrants to the state is critical for revitalizing Michigan’s cities.

“We find that immigrants are very entrepreneurial,” Metzger said. “They’re moving to neighborhoods that have seen disinvestment. They put money into redeveloping. They generate economic activity.”

And while Metzger says Gov. Rick Snyder has been active when it comes to recruiting newcomers to Michigan — even traveling to China this week in an attempt to bring in both businesses and people — more needs to be done to bring the state’s immigration numbers up.

“Michigan needs people,” said Metzger. The type of prosperity that follows with Chaldeans is undeniable.  The small business owners revitalize area neighborhoods often neglected and take significant risk.  The highly valued Chaldean family structure work together to pull resources and learn from one another - a distinct hallmark to their success.  
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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.