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Mart Mariam Chaldean Catholic Church Grotto Unveiled
By Rita Abro :: Monday, August 26, 2013 :: 28021 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.
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.