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English Catholics to hold Mass to show solidarity with Iraqi Christians
By Guest Reporter :: Thursday, June 12, 2008 :: 30754 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

London, UK - The Lord's Prayer will be read in Aramaic at a special Mass celebrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor at Westminster Cathedral next week in support of Iraqi Christians.

At a time when many of Iraq’s Christians have been forced to flee the volatile situation in their homeland, the Mass at 5:30pm on June 16 will offer an opportunity for bishops and worshippers to come together and stand in solidarity with the country’s Christian community.

In addition to the Lord’s Prayer being read in Aramaic – the language closest to Christ’s dialect – the Gospel will be sung in Arabic. The Mass will also allow people to pray for peace in Iraq and also for Iraqi communities here in England and Wales.

According to The Universe, Bishop Crispian Hollis, Bishop of Portsmouth, will be preaching at the Mass and Bishop Alan Hopes, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster with responsibility for Ethnic Chaplaincies, will concelebrate together with other bishops.

During the Mass, special prayers will be said for Archbishop Faraj Rahho of Mosul who was killed in March having been kidnapped after leading prayers at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul; for Margaret Hassan and the many others who have lost their lives in Iraq.

Last month Bishop Hollis and Bishop William Kenney, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, visited Erbil, Kirkuk, and Sulemaniyah in northern Iraq, at the invitation of the Chaldean bishops and shared in the experiences of the people, priests and religious of the area.

The bishops also spent time at the Chaldean Seminary of St. Peter in Ainkawa, a Christian town near Erbil.

Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, who hosted the bishops, told The Universe, “Many people have left their homes, their property and their jobs and are losing their patience, so this visit was very helpful to encourage us to continue with courage and hope for a better future.”

Recently, the Catholic charity for suffering Christians, Aid to the Church in Need, spoke to Fr. Habib Jajou, who will play a part in the Mass as chaplain for the London-based Iraqi Chaldean Christian community.

He referred to the volatile situation in Iraq: “What we want to do is just let people know how serious the situation is for our communities in Iraq – not just Christians but other minorities.”
 

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.