A call to love and serve

Thousands witnessed two priestly ordinations at Mother of God Cathedral

By Vanessa Denha Garmo

This past June, thousands of people witnessed Fadie Gorgies and John Bardeleon Jaddou being ordained as priests at Mother of God Cathedral in Southfield. More than 1,000 people attended in person and thanks to technology, thousands more watched it LIVE on Facebook through ECRC’s Mar Toma Productions, directed by Fadi Attisha. The two were the 3rd and 4th seminarians to be ordained under His Excellency Bishop Francis Kalabat.

Clergy from both the Chaldean Diocese and Archdiocese of Detroit were present including both Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim and Bishop Francis as well as Vicar General Fr. Manuel Boji. Also participating in the Holy Sacrament were Chaldean Seminarians.

The ordination coincided with the Memorial of St. Thomas the Apostle. It was Bishop Ibrahim who wanted all Chaldean Priestly ordinations to occur on this Saints Day as the Patron Saint of the Chaldeans. “This is important,” said Bishop Francis at the ordination. “The focus is the touch between St. Thomas and Jesus.”

The Gospel during the ordination addressed this encounter between St. Thomas and Jesus. “The touch of Jesus on the rest of apostles is important as we celebrate our sons becoming Fathers on the Memorial of St. Thomas. Let’s search a bit deeper. St. Thomas said, ‘I won’t believe until I see and touch’ and the Lord revealed himself and he turned and invited St. Thomas to see and touch and it is a prayer from the Old Testaments in Psalms … that ties into this Chaldean Church heritage. Look at us Lord, Have Mercy on and forgive us, Lord of all. This prayer we inherited from St. Thomas’ first vision of seeing Jesus. Thomas touched Jesus on the side with his finger and Jesus touches us with his Heart. Our Lord and Our God. This is not just about Thomas; it is about all of us.”

It is proclamation of faith and a way of life Bishop Francis explained that these two newly ordained priests are the apostles (Thomas) of today. “This vision continues today more than 2,000 years later. The Lord continues to touch and through this ordination he makes his presence known,” said Bishop Francis.

And Bishop Francis said to Frs. John and Fadie, “Your hands have been touched and your being has been touched and altered…do not betray the touch because the touch can betray you …. You are ultimately touching the people’s hearts through the heart of Jesus…. people are going to see Jesus in you.”

Bishop Francis said that Jesus opened a new chapter in his book today, “Jesus’ book is not limited to what he did but what he continues to do,” continued Bishop Francis. “So, Dear brothers John and Fadie and all brothers in priesthood and men in ministry, you begin a new chapter in Jesus’ book. His presence is among us through you … it is manifested through you. It is His ministry through you. How many healings will Jesus touch through you? How many teachings will Jesus proclaim through you? How will Jesus’s presence have made manifest through you? The answer is your call. It is literally up to you … The Lord is risen. He is amongst us. He is truly alive and he makes his presence known. He is alive through you and in you, through your faith and through your struggle and through your presence.”

The choir that day sang prayers and religious songs before, during and in closing of the ordination.

Both Fr. John and Fr. Fadie addressed the audience. “Praise God for indescribable gifts,” said Fr. John to a crowd that erupted in cheers and applause. “I didn’t know how to feel. I was torn between my unworthiness and God’s graciousness and his gift to us. The Lord said ‘just receive the spirit like a child’ … God is blessing to me and to Fr. Fadie and to each and every one of us.”

Fr. Fadie first spoke in Sourath (Aramiac) and when switching to English he thanked the Sacred Heart Seminary along with his spiritual directors. “Thank you for guiding me these last eight years and directing me,” he said.

As he explained on his ordination day, Fr. John’s ministry is about love. “I wrote in my journal a while ago that my deepest and truest desire is to love and there is such a yearning in me for love that the world can’t satisfy. St. Augustine said, ‘my heart is restless until it rests in you’ and it is only in receiving the divine love of God – God who is love Father, Son and Spirit that my soul is satisfied.”

Fr. John delivered many messages of gratitude to God, the Holy family and the religious leaders among others who guided him on his journey. “Thank you to my mom and dad for building me up in virtue and supporting me,” he said “…You allowed me to grow into a good man.”

Faris and Ban Jaddou’s oldest child, John has two brothers Mazen, 28 and Loran, 26 and a sister Mary, 20 who he also recognized at the ordination.

Fr. John, who just turned 30 last month, heard the call from God to enter the seminary during a Chaldeans Loving Christ (CLC) retreat at Saint Thomas Church. “I was inspired by the leaders of the youth group program to take my faith in Christ seriously, and when I did, I felt the call to be a priest,” he said. “My journey takes a turn because although I felt the call to priesthood at an early age, I ran as far away from it as possible.”

The Brother Rice student had other aspirations. “At the time, as a 17-year-old kid, nothing about priesthood looked attractive or desirable,” he noted. “For seven years, and with incredible grace, God slowly changed my heart and conformed me closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

Fr. John graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s in accounting and from Oakland University with a Master’s in Business Administration. He is a Certified Public Accountant along with being an ordained Chal­dean Catholic Priest.

“I would say I lived a very happy, normal childhood,” he said. “I have a big, loving family that loves each other and cares for each other’s well-being. I am blessed.”

He entered seminary at the age of 24, “with peace, excitement and curiosity.”

“Sacred Heart Major Seminary did an excellent job of helping me discern deeper this call to priest­hood and the Holy Spirit guided me throughout the six years,” he added.

Fr. John is assigned to St. Joseph Chaldean Church in Troy and will be working alongside pastor, Fr. Rudy Zoma and the associate pastor Fr. Bryan Kassa. “I pray that I am a simple priest for all people,” he said. “I am natu­rally drawn to the youth and find the most joy in working with middle school and high school teenagers. I am energized by them and love see­ing how little seeds of truth planted in their hearts blossom into beautiful fruits of faith, hope and love. I come from a family that loves sports, with both of my brothers playing college football, so I hope to reach our young men by relating to them through our mutual love for sports.”

And with that, Fr. John is ready to serve. “I just ask for prayers for my­self and all priests,” he noted.

“I am not perfect, and I don’t pre­tend to be, but I hope to continue to be an image of Jesus for those who don’t know Him. Jesus loves you deeply and intimately. Jesus died so that we may live. True living is found in and through His Holy Spirit. One of my favorite bible verses is 1 John 4:19 that states ‘We love because He first loved us.’ I think it speaks for it­self in that our love for Jesus is found­ed and predicated on the truth of His Love for you and me,” he said. “I am excited to begin this new life and feel truly blessed by God to receive this amazing grace of priesthood.”

You can watch the ordination on the ECRC Facebook page posted on June 30, 2018. (Fr. Fadie declined to be personally interviewed)