Thursday, December 13, 2018
Latest News & Information

Current Articles | Archives | Search

Baoutha Begins for Chaldeans - 3 Days of Fasting
By Rita Abro :: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 :: 68810 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Chaldean Churches

The English word breakfast, in fact, means the meal that breaks the fast.  Fasting is on the mind of many Chaldeans as they enter their second day of a three day Baoutha fast.  Fasting is the voluntary avoidance of something that is good. When Chaldean Catholics talk about fasting, they normally mean restricting the food that they eat. Depending on the fast, Chaldeans will abstain between meals and the more disciplined and spiritual Chaldeans will fast from mostly all food.

While fasting takes the form of refraining from eating, it is primarily a spiritual discipline designed to tame the body so that the faithful can concentrate on higher things.

Annually Chaldeans fast for three days in observance of Baoutha; a community promise made to God centuries ago. (Click here to learn more about Baoutha)

This year Community leaders are asking Chaldeans to turn their prayers and alms towards the needy of Iraq.  Death tolls continue to skyrocket in Iraq over unsafe conditions and lack of security.  “To put it in perspective it is like ten Haiti in Iraq,” says Andrew Ishaya of Turlock, California.  “It sure would be nice for to have a $60 million telethon for the war causalities.  Until that time, I will use my Baoutha Fast as an appeal for mercy to the innocent men, women, and children of Iraq.  And whatever money I can save from my fast I will donate to an Iraqi orphanage my church is helping to support.”

“Fasting is the most powerful spiritual discipline of all the Christian disciplines,” says www.CHALDEAN.org spiritual columnist Frank Dado.   “Through fasting and prayer, the Holy Spirit can transform our lives.  Fasting and prayer can also work on a much grander scale. According to Scripture, personal experience and observation, I am convinced that when God's people fast with a proper Biblical motive, repentant, and contrite spirit, God will hear from heaven and heal our lives, our churches, our communities, our nation and world. Fasting and prayer can bring about revival - a change in the direction of our nation and the nations of earth.”

Ironically the Baoutha fast commerourates a Chaldean Bishop’s plea, founded on God’s command of Jonah to help the people of Nineveh (modern day northern Iraq), during a plague. 

Chaldean Churches in Iraq hold a special Mass to rally the community behind the centuries old promise to God by the Chaldean people.  In Iraq, during the three day fast the Chaldean diet varies.  Mostly the Chaldean faithful will abstain from meat and dairy.  Those with special needs may modify the time when they fast. 

Iraqi Chaldeans would fast from meat and diary limiting their meals for three days to vegetables, herbs, soups, rice, and fish.  Leafy vegetables like spinach and parsley are often favored due to their cost and easy access. 

The intent of the fast is to self-impose a restriction that is challenging enough to make you mindful of prayer and reflective of the suffering of others. 

Fasting coincides with prayer and almsgiving (charity) says Dado.  “By controlling the passions of the body, we free our souls for prayer. And by refraining from eating, we free up food or money that we can give to those less fortunate than ourselves. The three spiritual disciplines go hand in hand, and the Church calls us to practice all three together, especially during fasting.

The Chaldean Church like all Christians of the Catholic family encourage individual Catholics to observe a stricter fast. Extreme fasting, however, can be physically harmful, so, as with all physical forms of penance and of spiritual discipline, Chaldeans should consult their physicians and parish priest before embarking on a very strict fast.

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.