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Chaldean Students Gather in Adoration
By Paul Isso :: Thursday, July 17, 2008 :: 57519 Views :: Career & Education, Religion & Spirituality, Chaldean Churches

Michigan, USA - A handful of Chaldean-American Wayne State University (WSU) students were recently able to do something that not a handful of Catholic churches could do: attain approval of 24-hour Adoration sessions, something many churches overall, have not yet had.

Rasha Kashat, 20, a pre-medical student at WSU, is one of the students that made efforts to allow one 24-hour Adoration session to be held at St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church per week.

Kashat said that "Adoration" is a meaningful gathering of individuals at the church to encourage religious practices, as well as have a great time while committing to such practices.

"In Adoration," Kashat said, "we basically gather a number of individuals together who have an interest in religion, to try and demonstrate to all of them that you could have fun, and still be religious.

"We want to show everyone out there, especially students in the community, such as those at Wayne State, that there are role models out there for you to follow, and that this is something anyone can participate in to enrich themselves religiously."

Kashat said that it was not easy to convince the priest that this would certainly work.

"We had to demonstrate that there would always be someone available to take role and lead the Adoration meetings," Kashat said. "Once we showed that we had a number of available and willing people, the church finally approved it-and this is a thing the church has never had before."

The first official 24-hour Adoration session at St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church took place on Thursday, July 10. According to Kashat, it was a success.

"The first session that took place had a great turnout," Kashat said. "We really surprised ourselves when a handful of people showed up since we didn't have a ton of time to spread the word about it."

WSU students Geen Hanna, Veronica Jamil, Amanda Kesto, Mark Marouki-Attiq, Raquel Nabaty and Lena Romaya, were also involved in these newly-approved 24-hour Adoration sessions at the church.

Hanna, 22, a pre-pharmacy student at the university, said a number of positive things about getting involved in Adoration.

"When someone gets involved in Adoration, they are not only enhancing their religious beliefs through prayer, but also through informative discussions," Hanna said.

Hanna also said, "What's just as nice is how anyone can discuss what's on their mind, and that way, they are able to express themselves freely and comfortably without having to worry because everything discussed in the sessions stay in the sessions-and that's the honor code we go by."

Despite not being involved, other WSU students, such as 19-year-old pre-medical undergraduate Andre Halabu, are also aware of the new Adoration sessions, and strongly support them.

"After hearing fun and beneficial things about these sessions at the church, I just want to involve myself in them as soon as possible," Halabu said. "From what I hear, these sessions are extremely helpful because they encourage participators to stick to their faith in an exciting, intelligent manner, and promote this idea in the form of a large and supportive group."

While she is happy that the church has allowed one 24-hour session per week, Kashat said she has "bigger things in mind later on."

"It will be one day a week for now," she said, "but we plan on increasing the sessions, to an additional day per week every month, until we become 24-7.

"This is the ultimate goal we want to accomplish."


Mr. Paul Isso is the lead community and political journalist for www.CHALDEAN.org in Michigan .  Mr. Isso is attending  Wayne State University Law School and serves the Chaldean community by covering complex political and legal issues along with Chaldean community events held in Michigan .  Mr. Isso can be reached at info@chaldean.org.

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.