Tuesday, April 25, 2017
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Religion & Spirituality

The Chaldean Community Saving Grace While Saying Grace
By Neda Ayar :: 49941 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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Hearses Never Pull U-Hauls
By Frank Dado :: 31305 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Opinion and Editorials

Let me begin by sharing my deepest and most heartfelt gratitude to all the wonderful e-mails shared with me by readers of my articles.  As I have written to some of you, please join me by sending me your ideas or writing for this wonderful website.  It is a blessing that it is available and hopefully other courageous writers will contribute an article about their profession, passions, or points of views. 

I am sorry it has taken so long to write more articles as the winding down of another semester, caring for some elderly relatives, and helping my dad find a job, has kept me quite occupied.  My family has hit a financial snag when my father was laid off from work.  I share this not to endear any readers, that is the furthest from my mind, but to share a personal reflection that has given rise to today’s article.  Thankfully dad was able to find another job, but he now has to drive nearly two hours one way. 

I mention this to highlight another reason why I love my dad so much; his optimism born from his faith. When I tried to empathize with his ordeal of a long travel and less pay he smiled and said, “brronee (son), I listen to your Ipod (after I showed him how to connect it to the car, he is infatuated with the device and has adopted it as his own), pray an extra rosary, and enjoy your mother’s bag of fresh fruit and vegetables; I am even more blessed now.  God always knows better, I just enjoy the ride.” 

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Baoutha Begins for Chaldeans - 3 Days of Fasting
By Rita Abro :: 48673 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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Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani
By Frank Dado :: 43836 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Opinion and Editorials


Every Christian has spoken Aramaic (aka, Chaldean, Sourath, etc…), most just don’t know it.  Many Chaldeans are often asked what language they speak.  Inevitably the discussion will turn to Jesus speaking Aramaic.  The bible is littered with Chaldean history and culture, but no clues are more available than the Aramaic language.  Language is important to understanding ones culture, community, and faith. 

Aramaic has been known since the beginning of human history and was the lingua franca of the early Semitic empires. Today Aramaic and it varying dialects continue to serve Chaldeans with a deeper understanding of their culture and Catholic faith.   That meaningful fulfillment is driving a large number of Chaldeans to make the time to strengthen and nurture their roots by learning their native language. 

Aramaic was the language used by the conquering Assyrians for administration and communication.  Following them, Aramaic was the official language used by Chaldeans and Persian empires, which ruled from India to Ethiopia.  During that time, Aramaic was the dominant language, similar to English today. It was used and written upon walls, clay tablets, and on numerous papyri of the region during that period.

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New Chaldean Priest Ordained in Michigan
By Neda Ayar :: 62654 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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Twin Chaldean Bishops Dedicated Church Spur Twin Mass Celebrations
By Frank Dado :: 53043 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, World News & Odds 'N' Ends, Chaldean Churches

Thiruvananthapuram, INDIA – The impact of Chaldeans on the world are numerous and diverse.  Following the lead of St. Thomas, Chaldeans travelled the world sharing the miraculous conversion of the human of the psyche and soul. 

Evidence of their impact is being praised in a small church, whose history dates back to 826 AD.  The church originally named after Sapor and Prot, twin Chaldean bishops traveling from Syria, who helped Christians establish themselves on the Kerala coast of India in the ninth Century. 

What is unique about this small Catholic parish is that it is dedicated to the twin brothers and has been attracting scores of twins, including Hindus, for its annual feast.  St. Thomas, a twin himself, helped share the blessings of Christianity throughout the Middle East and Asia, while his brethren St. Peter journeyed to Rome. 

This year's June 19 feast day Mass at the Church in Kerala, southern India, was no different. It was attended by 151 twins and two sets of triplets. The parish church is in Kothanallur village and comes under the Palai diocese.

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Australian Priest Begins Campaign to Help Chaldeans
By Amer Hedow :: 52999 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, World News & Odds 'N' Ends, Chaldean Churches

Brisbane, AUSTRALIA – In the capital city of Australia, Brisbane priest Fr. Gerry Hefferan has begun a campaign to help the struggling Chaldeans of war-torn Iraq.  Fr. Hefferan recently returned from Kurdistan and has organized a daily prayer roster with parishes from five major dioceses to pray for Chaldeans.  The effort has been welcomed by Australian Catholics as parishioners have already filled the roster until November 2009. 

The prayer roster is not the only effort Fr. Hefferan is undertaken on behalf of Chaldeans.  The Grovely-based priest is also encouraging Catholics to share expertise in education and health with staff at St Peter’s Chaldean Seminary in Iraq which has been relocated from Baghdad to Erbil in the Kurdistan north.

“This is because education and health are two major areas where the Muslim communities recognize Christian expertise,” Fr Hefferan said. “So this is one way to help bring peace to the area – it can help the Christians live more harmoniously with their Muslim neighbors.”

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Is Defending Marriage About Defending Religious Freedoms?
By Sam Yousif :: 36175 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Government & Society

California, USA – Perhaps the older Chaldeans have trouble grasping the threats we face, but the first and second generation Chaldeans know it all too well, says Ann Bodagh.  The Californian community activist says that America’s immune system is under attack.  “American values are our country’s immune system.  Values that teach us that lying, stealing, killing, and adultery are wrong are being torn apart.  Now it is okay to routinely lie, steal worker’s pensions, kill the unborn or elderly, or sleep with anyone.  These sorts of behavior are bankrupting America, financially, morally, and socially.”

Bodagh says you can see the social virus make its way to our countries value centers.  “They have already taken over our public schools and now they want to close churches and silence religious teachers.  America is becoming a socialist communist nation if we don’t fight back.  All the Chaldeans that fled from countries that would not let you speak out when the government is doing something wrong better wise up.  Otherwise you might as well by another plane ticket and choose your next country to run to.”

Bodagh says California is fighting back.  The citizens of the golden state recently voted to cut spending and become more fiscally conservative.  Citizens also voted to amend the state constitution to protect marriage between a man and a woman.  “California has long been considered the land of fruits and nuts sees the writing on the wall.  We are trying to clean-up the moral pollution.  Unfortunately, the pollution is also growing in other states.”

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The Attributes of a Chaldean Apostle 4 of 7 – Sacrifice / Charity
By Frank Dado :: 36676 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Opinion and Editorials

I am often asked by other Chaldeans, how am I to know if I am making God happy.  My response, “First, we must obey Him.  We must obey His laws and act in the way He has commanded.  We know this, based on how we behave.  We have been told that we are known by the fruit we bear; meaning our behavior and motivation. God calls us to obey Him, not man.  How we choose will determine our future.”

Fr. Michael Sisco compliments this message by challenging us to that simple question.   Are we to obey God or are we to obey men?  Our actions answer this question.  Some of us are blinded to how our actions please Jesus or offend him. Our actions are simply leaves to a tree of habit. That tree nourished or poisoned by its roots.  What Chaldeans should be most concerned with is the root of their tree and how the roots are nourished and fed to their branches and leaves.  The roots of every good Chaldean are nourished by two traits.  Traits Fr. Sisco makes clear.

Like Fr. Sisco, I too favor Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est, which means Where charity and love are, God is there.   Charity and love is the sun and water for all Chaldean roots.  The music Fr. Sisco refers to is breathtaking and included, with transcription, in this article for readers who wish to listen and meditate on how they can strengthen their obedience to God. 

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Pontifical Babel College in Baghdad Finally Returned to the Chaldean Catholic Church
By Huda Metti :: 65144 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Order, Government & Society, Chaldean Churches

Baghdad, IRAQ – After ongoing threats, attacks, and kidnappings Chaldean seminarians, students, and staff fled the centuries old Pontifical Babel College in Baghdad.  Abandoning the building to safer territory in northern Iraq, the staff had no choice says the dean of the college. 

A short while after, U.S. military occupied the building as a “combat outpost” and fortified base of operations for the 4th Cavalry Squadron of the First Mechanized Infantry Division, and then by the 2nd Squadron of the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.

The controversial move by the U.S. military fueled Iraqi Christian conspiracies of collaboration between Chaldeans and the United States.  Radical Islamic leaders used the building as evidence to further persecute Christians as conspirators.  Although Iraqi Christians were innocent in the taking of the building, the appearance was enough to recruit hundreds of terrorists and cause animosity between Iraqi Christians and fanatical foreign Muslims. 

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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.