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Religion & Spirituality

The Chaldean Community Saving Grace While Saying Grace
By Neda Ayar :: 49120 Views :: 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 :: 30792 Views :: 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 :: 48006 Views :: 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 :: 43303 Views :: 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 :: 61826 Views :: 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 :: 52311 Views :: 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 :: 52295 Views :: 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 :: 35680 Views :: 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 :: 36151 Views :: 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 :: 64233 Views :: 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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Election Part I: “We Have No King But Caesar”
By Guest Reporter :: 47218 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Government & Society, Opinion and Editorials

The following is the first of a three-part series on the 2008 Elections. In the next two weeks we will deal with issues of Culture and Conscience.

Now that the election is over, we can separate the real Catholics from those who just act the part. Those still reeling from the results of the election can rest assured that they are in good company with the saints.

Those who have drawn a line in blood and made a decision to stand with the culture of death need a serious examination of conscience.

Now look at what we’ve done to ourselves. America has made her “choice” for maximum leader and it is not pretty. In fact, it is one of the most devastating blows to American civilization that we have ever undergone, and I do not speak in hyperbole. Even such a saintly figure as Mother Theresa said that “a nation that kills its children has no future;” likewise, an authority like Fr. Benedict Groeschel recently commented that we have entered into “the beginning of the twilight” of our country—dire words that touch on the reality of electing the most extreme, pro-abortion candidate America has ever had the misfortune of occupying the highest office of our land.

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The Faithful Catholic Citizens’ “8 Answer” Guide
By Frank Dado :: 43850 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Government & Society, Opinion and Editorials

In 2004 a group of United States Bishops, acting on behalf of the USCCB and requesting counsel about the responsibilities of Catholic politicians and voters, received a memo from the office of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, which stated: 

“A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia."  In short, you are not in communion with Christ or His church if you vote for a candidate who supports abortion more.   

This declaration raised a number of questions.  The following 8 answers might offer greater clarity. 

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To My Little Sister: You Are My Sunshine!
By Frank Dado :: 49084 Views :: Health & Fitness, Living & Lifestyle, Religion & Spirituality

You are My Sunshine, My only Sunshine'….Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling.

They found out that the new baby was going be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in mommy's tummy.   He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her.

The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen.  In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor.

Would a C-section be required? Would the mother survive?  Would the baby live?  The entire family and medical staff were on pins and needles.  Finally, after a long and exhausting struggle, Michael's little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition.

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“I looked, and I know what I saw," says Cardinal Egan of New York
By Guest Reporter :: 32625 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Government & Society

Have you any doubt that it is a human being?

If you do not have any such doubt, have you any doubt that it is an innocent human being?

If you have no doubt about this either, have you any doubt that the authorities in a civilized society are duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if anyone were to wish to kill it?

If your answer to this last query is negative, that is, if you have no doubt that the authorities in a civilized society would be duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if someone were to wish to kill it, I would suggest—even insist—that there is not a lot more to be said about the issue of abortion in our society. It is wrong, and it cannot—must not—be tolerated.

But you might protest that all of this is too easy. Why, you might inquire, have I not delved into the opinion of philosophers and theologians about the matter? And even worse: Why have I not raised the usual questions about what a "human being" is, what a "person" is, what it means to be "living," and such?

People who write books and articles about abortion always concern themselves with these kinds of things. Even the justices of the Supreme Court who gave us "Roe v. Wade" address them. Why do I neglect philosophers and theologians? Why do I not get into defining "human being," defining "person," defining "living," and the rest?

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A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
By Cheryl Dickow :: 45809 Views :: Living & Lifestyle, Sports, Art, and Entertainment, Religion & Spirituality

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver Colorado recently addressed a group gathered in a in Sydney, Australia. The topic was, “Mission Possible: This Double Life Will Self-Destruct.” In a chillingly honest fashion, Archbishop Chaput shares his thoughts on our lives today, as Catholics, and how we ought to realize our need to live wholly and completely for Christ.

We can't live a half-way Christianity. The organizers of tonight's event were right [those who named it ‘Mission Possible: This Double Life Will Self-Destruct’]. Every double life will inevitably self-destruct. The question then becomes: How are we going to live in this world? How can we lead a Christian life in a secular age? We can't really answer that question until we get some things straight about what it means to be a Christian. And that means first getting some things straight about Jesus Christ.

This is another one of the by-products of our secular age: we don't really quite know what to think about Jesus anymore. A few years before he became Pope Benedict XVI, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote something that is unfortunately very true. He wrote: "Today in broad circles, even among believers, an image has prevailed of a Jesus who demands nothing, never scolds, who accepts everyone and everything, who no longer does anything but affirm us. . . . The figure is transformed from the 'Lord' (a word that is avoided) into a man who is nothing more than the advocate of all men." 

We all know people -- friends or family members or both -- who think about Jesus in these terms. It's hard to avoid. Our culture has given Jesus a make-over. We've remade him in the image and likeness of secular compassion. Today He's not the Lord, the Son of God, but more like an enlightened humanist nice guy.

This is, very much, the message in Catholic radio host, author, and speaker Teresa Tomeo’s new book, “Newsflash! My Surprising Journey from Secular Anchor to Media Evangelist.” Teresa did her best to live a half-way Christianity and found the great many ways in which such a life will self-destruct.

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