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Chaldeans Take to the Frigid Cold Streets to Offer Women Hope
By Sam Yousif :: Friday, March 28, 2008 :: 47076 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

St. George, MI USA
St. George Chaldean Catholic Church
45700 Dequinder Rd.,
Shelby Twp., MI 48317
Tel: (586) 254-7221
Fax: (586) 254-2874
 
Pastor: Rev.
Emanuel Shaleta
Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Basel Yaldo

Rev. Emanuel Shaleta 
Rev. Emanuel Hana Isho Shaleta was born in the village of Peshabur in northern Iraq. After completing his primary education he applied and was admitted in September 1971, to the illustrious St. John Seminary in Mosul, Iraq. In 1977 Rev. Shaleta was awarded a scholarship to study philosophy and theology in the renowned Urbaniana Pontifical University in Rome. There he obtained a Ph.D. in Biblical Theology. 
 
The reverends impressive work earned him the honor to be ordained to the priesthood by the hands of Pope John Paul II, in St. Peter Basilica in Rome on May 31, 1984. 
 
On June 3, 1987, Fr. Shaleta was assigned to serve as pastor for St. Paul Assyrian Chaldean Catholic Church in North Hollywood, California, where he served for just about a decade and a half. 
 
In December 2000, Fr. Shaleta was called to assist St. Jospeh Catholic Chaldean Church in Troy, Michigan and shortly thereafter was appointed pastor in 2002. Fr. Shaleta’s impressive leadership merited a unanimous appointment as the first pastor of St. George Chaldean Catholic Church, in Shelby Twp. Michigan, billed as the largest Chaldean church in the world. Fr. Shaleta continues to this day to impressively lead the faithful and offer wonderful opportunities and service to the community. 
 
Rev. Basel Yaldo
 
Rev. Basel Yaldo was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1970. Rev. Yaldo graduated from the National Teachers College in Iraq in 1989 and was drafted in the army in 1990. In 1993, he was honorably discharged for his service. A year later Rev. Yaldo was admitted to Babel College in Baghdad to study philosophy and theology. There Fr. Yaldo, received a scholarship to study in Rome at Urban College, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in theology in 2001. 
 
On November 23, 2002, Fr. Yaldo was ordained a priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim, Bishop of the Diocese of St. Thomas the Apostle for the Chaldeans. Fr. Yaldo continued his studies whereby he completed a masters degree in Dogmatic Theology with a focus on Marian studies from Urban College in 2003. 
 
The following year he was appointed assistant director of the seminary in the Dora district of Baghdad, and taught Dogmatic Theology at Babel College. His commanding leadership and steadfast skills earned him the secretarial appointment to Patriarch Emanuel III Delly. Upon completion of his duties as patriarchal secretary, Fr. Yaldo was nominated and selected as assistant pastor to St. George Chaldean Catholic Church Shelby Township, Michigan.