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Chaldeans Celebrate Baoutha This Week
By Rita Abro :: Saturday, January 12, 2008 :: 64068 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Baoutha is a three-day celebration that is composed of prayers and fasting. 

This annual observance is limited to the Chaldean Catholic Church and occurs exactly 3 weeks before the start of lent. 

In the 6th century a severe plague inflicted the northern regions of modern day Iraq; the ancient city of Nineveh, modern day Mosul, Iraq. 

The plague was devastating the city of that region, and out of desperation the people ran to their bishop to find a solution. The bishop sought help through the scriptures and came upon the story of Jonah in the Old Testament. 

In this story God sent the prophet Jonah to warn the city of Nineveh of great destruction unless they repent for their sins. The king of that region declared a 3-day fast to ask for God's forgiveness.  God accepted this and spared the city from destruction.

Upon looking at the story the bishop therefore ordered a 3-day fast to ask for God's forgiveness.   At the end of the 3-day fast, the plague had miraculously stopped, therefore, on the 4th day the Chaldean people rejoiced. 

Every year the northern region maintained the 3-day fast in thanks of the miracle that God brought them until the Chaldean church suggested that every Chaldean around the world  participate. 

The word Baoutha is an Aramaic word that means pleading, and from this meaning we receive the title of this commemoration.  In modern days it is a call for penance to plead to God for forgiveness.

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.