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Chaldean Churches

Bishop Francis Ordained to Lead the Faithful
By Rita Abro :: 18549 Views :: Article Rating :: Chaldean Churches

On June 14, 2014 the ordination of Fr. Frank Kalabat, of the Eastern United States Chaldean Eparchy (Diocese) will be held in Southfield Michigan.  Hundreds of thousands of faithful followers across the globe are estimated to watch the live event.  The humble priest, born in Kuwait in 1970, and ordained a priest in 1995, was selected by Pope Francis to succeed Bishop Ibrahim to lead the Chaldean faithful in the United Sates.  

Born in Iraq, Bishop Ibrahim was named by Pope John Paul II in 1982 to head the American eparchy (diocese) for Chaldeans. It is separate from the Archdiocese of Detroit but still has allegiance to the pope. Known as the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle, it once covered the entire U.S.

In 2002, the diocese grew so large in divided into a Western and Eastern half of the U.S. There are 105,000 Catholics who are members of the Eastern diocese, said the Vatican news release. Many of them are in metro Detroit, which has the highest concentration of Chaldeans in the U.S.

Fr. Frank recently served as the pastor of St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church in West Bloomfield.  Known for his inspirational and passionate sermons the modest priest is adored by the community.   Fr. Frank will be taking on the name of Bishop Francis and plans to continue his mission to bring Christ into the lives of all.   

Kalabat will be formally installed among some of Michigan’s most influential religions leaders.  In attendance will be Archbishop Allen Vigneron, head of the Archdiocese of Detroit, and numerous other world leaders. 

The event is being streamed live on EWTN, Satellite TV, and via the internet at www.stthomascc.org

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Mart Mariam Chaldean Catholic Church Grotto Unveiled
By Rita Abro :: 23832 Views :: Article Rating :: 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.
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Chaldean Catholic Bishop Asks the West, Are We Making Good Use of Our Freedom?
By Guest Reporter :: 38938 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

The situation in Iran and the challenge issued by this courageous Chaldean Bishop should cause us to pause and think as we enter into these Holy Days. This Bishop is correct; a culture without God has no future. He also asks us the right question, what are we doing with our freedoms? Pope Benedict reminds us that "A missionary Church known for proclaiming her message to all peoples must necessarily work for the freedom of the faith. She desires to transmit the gift of the truth that exists for one and all."

 
Chaldean Catholic Bishop Ramzi Garmou
 Chaldean Catholic Bishop
Ramzi Garmou
 

CHESAPEAKE,VA  (Catholic Online) - I recently read a report from Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic Charity under the guidance of the Holy Father  with a special mission to "help suffering and persecuted faithful worldwide. It was an  interview with the Chaldean Catholic Bishop of Tehran, Ramzi Garmou. He gave the charity a message for  Christians of the West, "Be aware of the value of the freedom that you enjoy."

Here is another excerpt from the report.It can be read in full here.

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"He then challenged Western Christians to "make good use of their freedom," asking, "How do you use it in your countries?" He emphasized that they must not become "the slaves of a culture that seeks to drive God out of people's hearts," but rather that they should use their freedom to "propagate respect for human life." A culture without God leads to "death" and has "no future," he said.

"Christians in Iran only represent a small minority, yet "their vitality does not depend on their numbers but on the quality of their faith and their living witness." In their "day-to-day dialogue" with the Muslims, the Christians in Iran "give authentic witness to the values of the Gospels," he continued.

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Turkish Chaldeans Welcome Back Armenian Faithful
By Amer Hedow :: 34336 Views :: Article Rating :: World News & Odds 'N' Ends, Chaldean Churches

Turkey, Gavur – Hidden from many is a small town in Turkey of peaceful survivors of Gavur.  Defying all odds these humble groups of villagers have survived the holocaust of WWI and continue to rebuild their lives under ongoing persecution and threat. 

The town’s name alone makes the point.  Gavur is an offensive ethnic slur used by Muslims in Turkey and the Balkans to describe infidels, with particular reference to Christians like Chaldeans, Greeks, Armenians, Bulgarians, Serbs and Assyrians. The term is considered highly offensive and meant to say somebody is inferior, an immoral creature, less than human. 

In Turkish history gavur is so deeply rooted in society as an insult. The Ottoman leaders in the First World War were motivating their soldiers by convincing them they were fighting a war against infidels.

Between 1919 and 1923, large number of Christians that lived in Anatolia and surrounding regions were made as scapegoats and targeted for annihilation. 

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The Opening of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church
By www.kaldu.org :: 52801 Views :: Article Rating :: Chaldean Churches

California, USA - Tears were wept, emotions were stirred, and the presence of God was felt for the first time in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on Friday, March 25 as Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo consecrated the new church in front of a congregation of literally hundreds of faithful who came from as far as Arizona to witness and commemorate the momentous occasion. Among the crowd were our seminarians and sisters, who drove 8 hours on Thursday in order to stand alongside the 70 families who belong to the new parish.

[Please select the bleow link within the article to view photos of the event]

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Chaldeans Find Refuge in East Tennessee
By Rita Abro :: 41983 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

A group of religious refugees are finding a home in East Tennessee. Chaldean Catholics, native to Iraq, are fleeing their home country to avoid persecution.

Many Chaldeans are tortured, even murdered over their religious beliefs. There are an estimated 150,000 Chaldeans in the United States, including over 100 in East Tennessee. On Saturday, Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim of the St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Chaldean Diocese, which covers the Eastern US, said mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville to help teach local Catholics about the Chaldean's plight.

"Usually they believe that all Iraqis are Muslims, but no, we are Christians even from the beginning, before Islam was there, Christians were there," Bishop Ibrahim said.

Joining him are members of the newly formed organization "Iraqi Christians in Need".

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Keeper of Iraq’s Past and Caretaker of Iraq’s Christian Future Passes
By Rita Abro :: 30805 Views :: Article Rating :: Chaldean Churches

Baghdad, IRAQ – Chaldean Bishop Andreas Abouna of Iraq died this past Tuesday, July 27th, 2010.  The 67 year old Bishop suffered from ongoing kidney complications and passed in an Erbil hospital located in northern Iraq.  Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, presided at Bishop Abouna’s funeral at St Joseph’s Cathedral, Ankawa, near Erbil.

The ailing Bishop was known for his peaceful calls, optimism, and concern for the youth of Iraq.  Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil described him as a pastor who was “always smiling, even in very difficult situations”.  Amid his increasing health problems, Bishop Abouna remained in war-torn Baghdad.  Without care for his own well-being the Bishop often held youth events and activities.  He counseled young Iraqis of all faiths as increasing horrific violence pervaded their daily lives.  The bishop also responded to a shortage of priests by serving at the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption, in the one of Iraq’s most dangerous city’s in the Al Mansour district.

Bishop Abouna was born on March 23, 1943 in the village of Bedar, outside the northern Iraqi town of Zakho.  At the age of 14, he joined St Peter’s Seminary, then based in the northern city of Mosul, and was ordained a priest for the Chaldean Catholic Church on June 5, 1966.

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The Chaldean Community Saving Grace While Saying Grace
By Neda Ayar :: 48895 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Michigan, USA –The Chaldean community has seen horrible devastation as Chaldeans are again persecuted for their Christian faith.  Nonetheless, Chaldeans remain unwavering and continue marching towards their faith amidst distressing struggles. 

“The pain we feel is hard,” says Husam Bodia.  “Our people have been ripped apart for believing in Jesus Christ.  Our women and children have been thrown to wolves; the men tortured and killed.  No matter.  We will not turn away from our faith.  Thank God our church remains.  Our Church is saving our people and our way of life. It is a cold glass of water in the desert.”

Bodia, like many other Chaldeans celebrate the Chaldean Church’s leadership in reaching out to the injured and needy.  “Our prayers have been answered.  We have more priests and deacons ordained than at any time in our history,” Bodia adds that the most recent ordination being Fr. Fawa Kako.  

Kako’s ordination marks another example of the Chaldean Churches in America dramatic and bold steps in serving the community.  Chaldean religious leaders across America have been tirelessly working to organize and prepare for the care and comfort of those in need. 

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Baoutha Begins for Chaldeans - 3 Days of Fasting
By Rita Abro :: 47826 Views :: Article Rating :: 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.”
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New Chaldean Priest Ordained in Michigan
By Neda Ayar :: 61547 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Michigan, USA – The Chaldean community welcomes their newest Catholic priest, Fr. Rudy Zoma, 28, of the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle.  On Saturday, July 4th, Chaldeans from all over joined the ordination Mass of the new priest.  Guests, seminarians, and visiting clergy from across the globe participated in the celebration.

Fr. Rudy is the third American Chaldean priest with five other American born seminarians to soon graduate and join the prestigious rank of priestly vocation among Chaldeans. 

“Fr. Rudy is an incredible person,” says Britney Allos.  “He really is involved with the younger generation and is a great speaker.  He can be serious and he can be funny.”  Fr. Rudy Zoma helped establish an English youth bible study at Mother of God Parish and was instrumental in helping the Chaldean parish soccer team repeatedly win the indoor Catholic College classic championship over Ave Maria, St. Mary MTS, and the other college teams.   “The amount of guests who arrived to his ordination celebration is a testament to his leadership and community support,” said Anthony Sako, parishioner of Mother of God parish. 

[Photos at the end of the article]

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St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  


Rev. Frank Kalabat
 

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.

 

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
 
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.