This year forever changed the lives of 44 people who attended Fr. Pierre Konja’s Pilgrimage through Mother of God Church. I was privileged enough to be one of those people. We toured the holiest places from France to Israel to Italy. From the early mornings to the exhausting walks and the hours of plane and bus rides, it is without a doubt that this pilgrimage is not for the weak of heart.
To my community,
I feel an urgent need to reach out to our community leaders and the entire Chaldean community!
Last week I buried my nephew, only 26 years old. His life ended too soon due to a drug overdose. My family is devastated by the tragic loss of our loved one. I wanted you to know that this problem has not only touched our family, but has become a problem throughout our community.
Chaldean (Aramaic), a language dating back more than 3,000 years to the time of Christ, is scarce in the world and on the brink of extinction. With the persecution that Christians have faced and continue to face in Iraq, Chaldean proves to be a difficult language to preserve for future generations.
According to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, 28,300 people a day are forced to flee their homes because of war, conflict, persecution and discrimination based on a variety of factors, including race and religion. On a global scale, there are 65.6 million people worldwide who have been forcibly displaced. To date, the world is facing the highest numbers of displaced people on record. Those who flee their country of origin and enter into another nation face a multitude of obstacles because of their refugee and undocumented status. Finding stable employment that pays a living wage is oftentimes out of reach, as is finding safe and secure housing to raise a family in.
Eminence, in your role in charge of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, what would you see as the priorities in providing support to Christians living in the vast biblical territories? “I often receive groups of Catholics led by their bishops, eager to express their generosity to their brothers and sisters of the East. Benefactors want to know our priorities. Promoting the fullness of religious freedom of Christians is part of the issues at stake, especially in Muslim majority countries.
It wasn’t an assignment Sister Caroline Toma Semaan was seeking but the Chaldean nun speaks of her principal position at her private school with great pride. “We are sisters who run the school but our school is for everybody,” said Sister Caroline. “We have 145 teachers and our student-body is at capacity with both Muslim and Christians students.”
With the launch of Mango Languages’ Sourath series this fall, we wanted to ask community members how they felt about preserving the Chaldean language.
Detainment Unfair? In this issue, we focused on the mass detainment and potential deportation of more than 100 Iraqi Christians in the Metro Detroit area. We wanted to know what our community members thought of the situation. So, we posed the question: What do you think of the detainment and possible mass deportation to Iraq?
Many gathered at the Shenandoah Country Club on July 24 for the premiere of the long-awaited documentary, Faithkeepers, that would put a face and voice to the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East. The documentary highlights the persecutions that Christians and other minorities are currently facing at the hands of groups like ISIS. As well, the documentary traces back a century of persecution, including the genocide of World War I that took nearly two thirds of the Chaldean/Assyrian/Syriac population.
United Community Family Services/CALC hosted an event with St. Joseph Catholic Chaldean Church in Troy. There was an estimated 1,200 people who attended the event. There were 54 vendors who provided information on various topics including fire safety, health, nutrition, education, banking and finance, legal, senior services employment as well as government agencies and officials. The participants received a great amount of information in various areas to support their needs and questions were answered about each of the services. The information allowed participants access to more services and to have a better understanding of what is available and how to obtain support services.