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Baoutha Begins for Chaldeans - 3 Days of Fasting
By Rita Abro :: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 :: 50209 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.

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.