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New Chaldean Priest Ordained in Michigan
By Neda Ayar :: Monday, July 20, 2009 :: 63482 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Michigan, USA – The Chaldean community welcomes their newest Catholic priest, Fr. Rudy Zoma, 28, of the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle.  On Saturday, July 4th, Chaldeans from all over joined the ordination Mass of the new priest.  Guests, seminarians, and visiting clergy from across the globe participated in the celebration.

Fr. Rudy is the third American Chaldean priest with five other American born seminarians to soon graduate and join the prestigious rank of priestly vocation among Chaldeans. 

“Fr. Rudy is an incredible person,” says Britney Allos.  “He really is involved with the younger generation and is a great speaker.  He can be serious and he can be funny.”  Fr. Rudy Zoma helped establish an English youth bible study at Mother of God Parish and was instrumental in helping the Chaldean parish soccer team repeatedly win the indoor Catholic College classic championship over Ave Maria, St. Mary MTS, and the other college teams.   “The amount of guests who arrived to his ordination celebration is a testament to his leadership and community support,” said Anthony Sako, parishioner of Mother of God parish. 

[Photos at the end of the article]

During the ceremony Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim announced that Fr. Rudy would be assigned to St. Joseph Parish in Troy, Michigan and invited him to speak directly to the congregation.  Fr. Rudy thanked the guests for their support and in his sermon reminded parishioners that his vocation is a witness to the church of martyrs who have sacrificed their lives since Christ walked the Earth proclaiming the Good News.  “For 2,000 years we have been killed for our faith in Jesus.  Yet we multiply and spread throughout the world,” Fr. Rudy said. 

The newly ordained priest went on to passionately proclaim the need for persecuted Christians to share their love of Christ, without fear in Iraq and without Shame in America. 

Following the ordination were numerous parties and gatherings including the Chaldean Diocese hosting an outdoor community congratulatory gathering.  Desserts and refreshing drinks were given to thousands of guests as folks mingled, received “First Blessings”, and congratulated Fr. Rudy.  (For photos of the congratulatory gathering readers are asked to click on the hyperlink at the end of the article.)

Becoming a Catholic priest is much like studying for any other vocation. Participation in studies to become a priest does not obligate one to finally be a priest any more than going to law school means one must become a lawyer. Usually to become a priest, one must fulfill many requirements.

How does one become a priest?

There are two defining steps to becoming a priest, and both of them are very important.

Step #1: Internal Discernment

This part may involve many years. Some people think about priesthood for a long time - even from youth. Some, after discovering the call, act on it right away. Others discover this call only later in life (for some, much later). Here some of the ways that often help to bring one’s call into focus: Reflection, prayer, and listening to God.

•    Being involved in one’s parish
•    Going to Mass regularly
•    Receiving the sacraments
•    Getting involved in some type of Christian or community service
•    Trying to live a good Christian moral life

The Director of Vocations (at the Chaldean Diocese of St. Thomas the Director of Vocations is Fr. Frank) directly facilitates the on-going discernment process for individuals interested in becoming candidates for priestly formation.
 
Step #2: Priestly Preparation

Programs to assist Chaldeans interested in the diocesan priesthood include:

The Affiliate Program - This program is primarily for men 18-40, and is designed for those potential candidates in the early discernment stages of their call to priesthood. Interested men meet monthly for discussion, support and prayer. This program is for potential candidates who are open to the possibility of priesthood.

Seminary Program - If you are accepted by the Vocation Office as a Chaldean diocesan priesthood candidate, then you will attend a seminary. The seminary program will focus on: your formation as a priesthood candidate, theological studies, and your spiritual journey. Candidates usually have to take one or two years of philosophy studies in addition to theological studies, prior to graduate-level theology.

Chaldeans interested in a priestly vocation can contact St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Parish at

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd. West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460

Photos of Fr. Rudy’s Ordination Part I

Photos of Fr. Rudy's Ordination Part II

Mar Addai Church, MI USA

Mar Addai Chaldean Catholic Church
24010 Coolidge Hwy.
Oak Park, MI 48237
Tel: (248) 547-4648
Fax: (248) 399-9089

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Founding Pastor:
Rev. Stephen Kallabat

Current Pastor:
Rev. Stephan Kallabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Fadi Habib Khalaf

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Sulemina Denha
 


 

Rev. Stephen Kallabat


Fr. Stephan Kallabat was born in Telkaif, Iraq.  After completing seven years of scholarly work for the priesthood in Mosul, Iraq Fr. Kallabat was accepted at the prestigious university in Rome.  There he spent six additional years of scholarly work in the areas of philosophy and theology and an additional four years in scriptural studies. 

Ordained a priest in 1966 by Pope Paul VI he returned to Iraq to serve the Holy Family parish until his departure to Michigan, U.S. in 1979 to serve the growing population of Chaldeans.  Fr. Kallabat was appointed assistant pastor, then pastor of Mar Addai Parish in Oak Park, Michigan. 

Hitting the ground running, Fr. Kallabat is credited with raising the necessary funds to provide Chaldeans in the local area a church and community center of their own.  Fr. Kallabat continues to serve the parish and Chaldean community as their pastor.   

Rev. Fadi Habib Khalaf

Fr. Fadi Habib Khalaf was born in Baghdad May 10, 1974.  Fr. Khalaf graduated from Baghdad University in 1997 and soon after joined the Chaldean seminary in Baghdad.  While there Fr. Khalaf earned a scholarship to attend the Urbanian Pontifical University in Rome.  There he earned another bachelor’s degree in theology and was ordained deacon in Rome on May 8, 2004. 

Fr. Khalaf then returned to Baghdad where he was officially ordained as a priest.  Afterward Fr. Khalaf returned to Rome to further his studies.  In 2006 Fr. Khalaf was appointed to serve Chaldeans in the United States.  

In the summer of 2006 he arrived to the Chaldean diocese of St. Thomas the Apostle and was cardinated into the Diocese and elected to serve at Mar Addai parish on March 15, 2007 as the Parochial Vicar.

Rev. Suleiman Denha

Rev. Suleiman Denha was born in Telkaif, Iraq.  He began his priestly studies in 1951 in Mosul, Iraq and was ordained in 1959.  Fr. Denha taught in Telkaif until 1961, when he was appointed pastor in Basra, Iraq in 1966. 

After immigrating to the Unite States in 1979, he was appointed to serve the Chaldean community in Virginia.  A year later, Fr. Denha was recruited to assist the much larger population of Chaldeans in Detroit. 

Upon his arrival Fr. Denha assisted Fr. Yasso at Sacred Heart Church.  In 1982 he was asked to temporally assist St. Joseph Church in Troy, returning a year later Sacred Heart. 

In 1991, he was appointed to Mar Addai Church in Oak Park, Michigan as the Parochial Vicar, where he still serves the community today.