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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.
Chaldean dioceses in America have played major roles in providing food, shelter, education, and employment to those in need.
In California the Chaldean diocese has led an extensive effort in supporting the influx of immigrants with housing, food, formation of a Chaldean seminary, and an ambitious project of building a school to meet the unique needs of refugees who have lost years of education.
In Michigan, the Chaldean diocese has opened a new church, a mission, is in the process of building a regional shrine, established a community camp, and funded for the education and training of a nearly a dozen of seminarians and deacons to serve the community; a handful of which have met the stringent qualifications to graduate and be ordained.
This past Saturday, hundreds of Chaldean community members gathered to witness Kako's ordination. A native of Baghdad, Kako joined the seminary in Iraq, prior to the college being destroyed in the war. At 21, he joined the Redemptorists, a religious order that sent him to Germany to study theology.
Kako came to the United States in 2006 to study at the Catholic Theological University in Chicago. Two years later, he arrived in Metro Detroit and was assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Warren. He works for a Chaldean mission at the parish helping Iraqi immigrants through social services outreach programs.
Kako said his faith carried him through many dark hours. "God's message is love and peace," said 29-year-old Kako. Kako said he wants to continue to work with Iraqi and Chaldean immigrants. They have seen a lot of persecution," said Kako. "It's been a journey for them. They are now in the Promised Land. In the United States, they are free to practice their religion."
Kako's parents, who left Iraq in 2004 to get away from the persecution of Christians arrived to Metro Detroit three months ago from Australia to be part of the ordination celebration.
The Rev. Manuel Boji, pastor of Mother of God Chaldean Catholic Church in Southfield, said Kako's ordination was a major event for local Chaldeans. "The ordination of a priest is always an important event," said Boji.