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Mart Mariam Chaldean Catholic Church Grotto Unveiled
By Rita Abro :: Monday, August 26, 2013 :: 27910 Views :: Chaldean Churches

In 2011, Mart Mariam Chaldean Catholic Church was re-located to 2700 Willow Road in Northbrook, on the corner of Pfingsten and Willow Roads. The sprawling 10 acre landscape has supported the resplendent parish adding an activity hall, small school, and rectory to a picturesque and easily accessible campus.
 
In September 2012, Fr. Fawaz Kako,C.Ss.R. and myself, along with fellow parishioner Salem Estefan, discussed building a proper grotto (maghara) for the existing Mother Mary statue residing at the front entrance of the church. I welcomed the responsibility and pursuit of such a significant shrine as a gift from the Hikmat Yacu family to our church and all of its faithful parishioners.
 
Additionally, the grotto would honor and celebrate the first Chaldean Bishop in the United States, his Excellency, Mar Ibrahim, as well as recognize Fr. Fawaz for his devotion and passionate dedication to the community. This extraordinary grotto was a long lasting aspiration of mine to commemorate my parents, Aziz and Warina Yacu, devoted and faithful all their lives to the Chaldean Church and its people. It is in remembrance of them that this project was conceived and will stand as an exceptional landmark for our church and the community.
 
Building this unique monument proved to be quite difficult and tedious. After identifying a grotto image and developing an engineering sketch, an extensive search was conducted for a qualified builder. As very few grottos exist in the Chicago area, the search was prolonged until a proficient and capable builder was selected to execute the unique design. Along with the builder, a local architect was chosen to assist in the laborious task of designing and engineering the project. With the help of our blessed Mother Mary, after many months of collaboration and obtaining proper permits it was finally time to begin construction.
 
Unfortunately for our project, Mother Nature had other ideas. The rain and thunderstorms in early June 2013 halted our construction for 12 days until at last, sunshine and clear skies allowed a solid concrete foundation to be laid in mid-June. Shortly thereafter, a beautiful structure began to take shape with the formation of the stone walls and magnificent dome framework.
 
From the very conception, this monument was destined to be spectacular and unprecedented. I was honored and delighted when Mart Mariam selected the main entrance of its grounds as the setting for this meaningful Shrine. The position of the grotto will allow unobstructed views to its brilliance and purity all the way from Willow Road around Pfingsten corner. Both Northbrook and Glenview townships bordering Willow Road will have breathtaking views and a beautiful panorama of this one of a kind grotto.

The project is near completion, with a grand opening scheduled for Thursday, August 15.

The grand unveiling date was chosen for its significance as the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This annual celebration commemorates the death of Mary and her bodily assumption into Heaven. The Chaldean Catholics rejoice this day with a Grand Holy Mass followed by a special dinner for all who attend services.

A very important event in the church, this great feast is typically attended by over 1,000 people and will likely exceed that number this year, with the addition of the grotto dedication. This year will be of even greater magnitude, as our Bishop, his Excellency Mar Ibrahim from the Detroit dioceses, has agreed to bless us with his presence for the grotto ribbon cutting ceremony and prayers, as well as officiate mass the evening of the Feast.
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.