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Chaldeans Take to the Frigid Cold Streets to Offer Women Hope
By Sam Yousif :: Friday, March 28, 2008 :: 68227 Views :: Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Michigan, USA - “Despite bone-chilling temperatures and biting winds, Chaldeans turned out to pray and help young mothers reconsider killing their baby,” says Chaldeans-4-Life president Ban Gorges of Mar Addai Chaldean Catholic Church in Oak Park.  “Big business makes them believe that murder is a choice and scares them with doom, gloom, and hopelessness.  We are there to say there is hope, there is love, and there is an alternative to killing for convenience.”

Hope is what the Chaldean vigil group offered to mothers and single women  pressured to end the life of their unborn child.  Gorges led a group of Chaldeans to join the 40 Days for Life campaign holding prayer vigils for 40 days straight, 24 hours per day, out in front of the abortuary located in Southfield, Michigan. 

Refusing to let the frigid cold stop them the sidewalk counselors ranging in age of 24 to 75 years old marched in front of the center sharing with women life-saving alternatives.  “This is the fruit of a generation of people who refuse to accept personal responsibility.  They have created a culture of death and disregard for anyone, young or old, who they consider inconvenient or a burden,” says Ronny Memmo, a Chaldean-4-Life supporter.  “Today it is the unborn and infirm.  Tomorrow it will be drug addicts and homeless. It did not stop in Nazi Germany.  Will we close our eyes to the slaughter of innocents today.” 

The 40 Days for Life is a community-based campaign that draws attention to the evil of abortion through the use of a three-point program:  (1) Prayer and fasting; (2) Constant vigil, (3) Community outreach

The organizations website states that 40 Days for Life takes a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, for their own friends and families. It puts into action a desire to cooperate with God in the carrying out of His plan for the end of abortion in America.

The 40-day campaign tracks Biblical history, where God used 40-day periods to transform individuals, communities ... and the entire world. From Noah in the flood to Moses on the mountain to the disciples after Christ's resurrection, it is clear that God sees the transformative value of His people accepting and meeting a 40-day challenge.

The appreciation dinner featured an eclectic food buffet.  Chaldean, American, African, Italian, Mexican and Irish food portrayed the international unity of the members with a common bond of rescuing mothers and their babies .  Fr. Stephan Kallabat along with Mar Addai parish council leaders Steve Jajoni and Carl Barash congratulated the organizers for their passionate work.  The faithful group enjoyed dinner, conversation, and were treated to inspirational member testimonials by those who walked the cold street 24 hours a day reaching out to help those in need.  

Chaldean health administrator Amanda Foumia says during her testimonial, “God is using us.”   Foumia recalls the afternoon when she received a call from a lady worried and afraid.  After speaking with her she realized the woman was pregnant and afraid of bringing a child into the world.  The woman had had very little and was single without family and barely making ends meet for herself.  “She was considering an abortion,” Foumia says.  “I listened.  I prayed. I thought to myself what could I do.”  Foumia did do something.  She gave her hope.  Shared with her resources and opportunities she could turn to that would help her make ends meet and spare the life of the child.  “Ever since then I knew I needed to be more involved.”

Since then Amanda Foumia has been active in the Chaldeans-4-Life movement.  “I find clever ways to give women hope,” she says.  “I wear shirts or buttons that send a clear message of hope and love for the mother and her child.”

Suham Youkhanna and Latifa Mikha applaud Amanda as she shares her testimonial at an appreciation dinner held by Mar Addai Church in Oak Park for the sidewalk counselors, prayer walkers, and organizers of the 40 Days for Life campaign. 

Mar Addai parish council leader Steve Jajoni shares his respect and admiration for his good friend Mike Elia who shyly remains seated.  Elia attended the prayer vigil every Saturday morning at 5:00 a.m. in the morning.  “This was a man who loves to sleep.  On his own wedding day he slept in,” adds Jajoni as the audience breaks into laughter, “If that is not a miracle I don’t know what is,” Jajoni smiles.   

The group leaders also shared ways members can remain active and involved in the fight against abortion.  Suggestions included holding prayer meetings at home, taking courses in sidewalk counseling, volunteering at the Mother and Unborn Baby Care’s Crisis Pregnancy Center, inviting others to join the effort, and collecting baby goods for mothers in need of clothing and baby equipment. 

The Chaldean-4-Life group decided to sponsor two tables at the upcoming Baby Care’s Annual Spring Dinner at the San Marino Club in Troy on April 10.   The event features renowned Endocrinologist Dr. Joel Brind who will discuss the links of breast cancer to abortion.  Dr. Brind is the lading expert on the abortion-breast cancer link.  Dr. Brind has discussed this issue on CNN, CBS, CBC, NPR, and ABC, as well as in major publications like The New York Times, The Wall Stret Journal, Time, and Newsweek Magazines. 

The dinner promises to bring hundreds of pro-life supporters to network and share resources.  The dinner will also raise funds to purchase supplies and services for mothers who spare the life of their unborn children. Tickets are only $60 for the event  

Chaldeans wishing to attend the event can contact Ban Gorges at Mar Addai Chaldean Catholic Church. 

For more information on the 40 Days for Life campaign, visit www.40daysforlife.com

Sacred Heart Parish, MI USA

 

Sacred Heart Parish
310 W. Seven Mile. Rd.
Detroit, MI 48203
Tel: (313) 368-6214
Fax: (313) 891-0132

The parish was established by Rev. Jacob Yasso in 1973

Rev. Jacob Yasso

Rev. Jacob Yasso was born in the village of Telkaif, Iraq.  After completing high school he was recruited to Rome and Urbaniana University where he completed his Masters Degree in philosophy and Theology.  Fr. Yasso was ordained a priest in 1960 and served the Diocese of Mosul, where he worked in the public school system. Fr. Yasso was also asked by the Patriarch to teach at the Patriarchal Seminary in Baghdad, where he served as administrator, professor of philosophy and religious life, and rector of the minor seminary. 

In 1964, Fr. Yasso was appointed to the United States to serve the growing Chaldean community in Detroit.  There he served as the 4th Pastor of Mother of God Parish.  .  In 1972, the Patriarch charged Fr. Yasso with building a new parish for the Chaldeans in Detroit.  In taking great pains to care for the community Fr. Yasso accelerated the development of a new church and community center.  In 1975, Fr. Yasso completed the development of Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit and shortly thereafter he added the Chaldean Center of America in 1980, 

A few years later in 1982, Fr. Yasso was asked to assist the late Fr. Kattoula at St. Peter’s Church in San Diego, CA.  Before long, Fr. Yasso was once again recruited to Rome to study new Canon Law of the Church.  While in Rome Fr. Yasso completed his third Masters Degree in Church Law, making him the only Chaldean priest trained in Canon Law. 

In 1988, the Patriarch and Vatican authorities asked Fr. Yasso to travel to Canada and establish a parish and community center.  While there he served as a Tribunal Judge for the Archdiocese of Toronto.  Four years later Fr. Yasso returned to Sacred Heart church in Detroit to help care for the remaining Chaldean community residence in the Detroit area.  To this day, Fr. Yasso continues to serve as the parish pastor creating activities and advising the City of Detroit on community related matters. 

Fr. Yasso is a member of the International WYCLIF Bible translators, since 1975, and has completed the translation of the New Testament from Greek and Aramaic into Arabic and spoken Chaldean.   The publication of his scholarly work is set to be released soon.