Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Sonja Corbitt

9/29/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Be the hands and feet of Christ to Iraqi Christians in need,

In a loving display of consolation and charity to a beleaguered people, the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Thomas the Apostle for the Chaldean in Detroit celebrated a thanksgiving Mass with Iraqi Catholic Christians at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville this weekend. According to Bishop Ibrahim, half of the 1 million prewar Christians in Iraq have fled the country since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim celebrates Divine Liturgy (Mass) at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim celebrates Divine Liturgy (Mass) at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Highlights

By Sonja Corbitt

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/29/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Irag, chaldeans, eastern rite, catholic, persecution


NASHVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - In a loving display of consolation and charity to a beleaguered people, the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Thomas the Apostle for the Chaldean in Detroit celebrated a thanksgiving Mass with Iraqi Catholic Christians at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville, TN this past weekend. Presiding Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim of St. Thomas the Apostle is head of the Chaldean Christians in the Eastern US.

His presence lent an air of poignant familiarity to the Mass for about 120 displaced Chaldean Christian families worshiping there, about half of which had newly arrived in Knoxville from Iraq. Differences in the liturgy, liturgical language, prayers, and devotions between the Eastern and Western Rites add to feelings of displacement and alienation from home and culture for the refugees.

Along with an additional 17 dioceses and bishops of the Eastern Rite in the US, all of which maintain full communion with the Bishop of Rome and the rest of the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Rite Divine Liturgy is in use among Chaldean Catholics. Having a Chaldean Bishop celebratethe Divine Liturgy (Mass) in the Eastern Rite is a distinct reminder of home for the worshipers, who were greeted with "Allah maak" ("the Lord be with you").

Prayers at the liturgy came from the Mass for Refugees and Exiles. The second reading from James 1 concluded with verse 27: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

The homilist said, "When we use terms like 'refugees' and 'exiles,' there's always a caution. 'Widows and orphans' in the Old Testament and in the New Testament were words always used together, and it didn't just mean 'widows and orphans.' It meant anyone who was vulnerable, anyone who was in need, and the people of God were always judged by God on their faithfulness to taking care of those in need."

A guest this weekend of the Bishop of Knoxville, Bishop Ibrahim also met following the Mass with members of the Chaldean community, members of the charity Iraqi Christians in Need, and Congressman John Duncan to share a fellowship meal and discuss the issues facing the Iraqi Catholic community in America. 

For the members of Iraqi Christians in Need, the day with the refugees and Bishop Ibrahim served to launch the newly formed organization which seeks to educate Americans on the numbers and plight of Iraqi Christian refugees living here and offer assistance to them.

Bishop Ibrahim hopes to work with Tennessee Bishops and Iraqi Christians in Need to establish a mission for the Chaldean community there, and all over the country, especially those who have recently fled persecution in Iraq. Together they hope to offer a place of refuge where Iraqi Christians can gather safely to "worship and pray for peace and understanding in the world, so that all peoples may practice their faith in peace and security."

When asked what he considered to be the most important message to Catholic Online readers, Bishop Ibrahim stated, "All Iraqis are not Muslim. Before Islam was there [in Iraq], Christians were there." Indeed, Christianity predates Islam by several centuries.

Iraqi Christians are part of historic indigenous communities that have been in the area now known as Iraq since nearly the time of Christ, and the majority still live there. The Christian community took root in the region after the Apostle Thomas headed east in the year 35, the Apostle for whom the Chaldean Diocese in Detroit is named.

But now after nearly 2,000 years, Iraqi Christians are being hunted, murdered and forced to flee - persecuted on a biblical scale in Iraq's religious civil war. These brothers and sisters in Christ who can trace their history in the region back some 2,000 years have fled to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and to northern Iraq by the hundreds of thousands to avoid certain martyrdom.

The invasion and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that removed Saddam Hussein have created political instability and an authority vacuum that has allowed a jihadist and supremacist power insurgence to prey on Christians in their midst with increasing brutality and boldness. Rampant tribal disunity prevents unification under an Islamic government that cannot and does not protect Christians there despite the official rhetoric of freedom of religious practice.

According to Bishop Ibrahim, half of the 1 million prewar Christians in Iraq have fled the country since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Hundreds of thousands, including children and babies of Christian parents, have been horrifically tortured and martyred. Nonetheless, the charity of Christ was evident in Bishop Ibrahim as he carefully pointed out that while Iraqi Christians are particularly targeted, the whole population of Iraq, Muslim and Christian, suffers due to the political destabilization.

Comparing the current persecution of Christians in Iraq to German persecution of Jews in the 40's, he stated that Iraqi Christians are in such dire need because they receive no official help from the US to relocate and assimilate as the Jews did then. Instead, President Obama's support of Islamic nations emboldens militant religious resurgence and jihadist attacks against them while their pleas for protection fall on deaf ears.

They are desperate for the most basic help. Twenty other Chaldean families wanted to attend the Mass in Knoxville this weekend but were unable to find transportation. Susan Dakak of Iraqi Christians in Need said that this is one of the issues they hoped the day would highlight.

"People need to know about these Catholic refugees and see if there's any way they can help them," she said. "It's the occasional ride to church or invitation to dinner or whatever would make them feel at home-that's what we're hoping for these families."

To be the hands and feet of Christ to Iraqi Christians in need, contact the ministry here.

-----

Sonja Corbitt is a Catholic speaker, Scripture teacher and study author, and a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit her at www.pursuingthesummit.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Play-doh Christianity and the Vanishing Cross

Image of Bell can have his happy-clappy, navel-centered religion and his wimpy god. He just can't call it Christianity, and he can't claim it's the Church.

By Jennifer Hartline

There is no Christianity without Christ, and no Christ without the cross. There was no need for the cross except for our Redemption, and no need for that except for our sin. To preach Christianity without preaching repentance from sin and taking up your cross is ... continue reading


Bella's Gift: The Santorum Book that Keeps on Giving Watch

Image of The book, Bella's Gift, has shaken me. On more than one occasion, it has forced me to my knees in tears. That is because, in a candid, honest, profoundly spiritual way, this splendidly written book puts the reader in the presence of unconditional love. then, through its deep spiritual truths, it unleashes the dynamic power of amazing grace.

By Keith A Fournier

I was with Rick Santorum at the Awakening Conference in Orlando, Florida. Rick and Karen Santorum are personal friends. Their whole family is a source of inspiration to me. But most especially, that little Princess named Bella Santorum. She is the center, the ... continue reading


McDonald's does the unthinkable - Big Mac Shop launches McFashion clothing line Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fast food conglomerate McDonald's had released its own fashion and lifestyle line, with the clothes full of Big Mac prints on them. The McFashion debuted on Tuesday in Sweden, in celebration of their most recent campaign, "I'm Lovin' It 24." Profit generated from the ... continue reading


Top Stories of the Week You Can't Miss Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

From a tragic airplane crash that killed 150 people to the blood of St. Januarius liquifying, this week in news has been quite a roller coaster. We saw nuns mob Pope Francis, a father lose seven of his eight children in a horrifying fire and the first announced ... continue reading


Majority of Latinos in United States speak English Watch

Image of  Latinos who only speak English are often ostracized by Latinos who only speak Spanish or are bilingual. Many Latinos, upon being hired for positions, are presumed to know and speak Spanish.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While it would appear to some to be contrary, the majority of Latinos within the continental United States, 62 percent, speak English. A new analysis of the Pew Research Center's 2013 National Survey of Latinos has found that the current demographics will ... continue reading


The Christian Feast of the Annunciation is About More than Mary Watch

Image of The Annunciation: The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you. (Luke 1:26,27)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Walking along this Way of Yes, leads us into a dialogue, a conversation, a communion, a new Way of life, the Christian Way. By saying Yes, offering our own Fiat, we become consecrated and enlisted in the ongoing mission of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary shows us that ... continue reading


Where's the most hate in the United States? A look into the top states with the highest amount of hate groups may shock you Watch

Image of There is hope. According to the center,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While California is typically known for laidback attitudes and acceptance of diversity - it comes as a shock to learn that the Golden State has the largest amount of "hate groups" across the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the ... continue reading


Fox News asks New York City's party district if they are proud to be an American: Watch their unbelievable responses (VIDEO) Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fox News producer, Jesse Watters, took to the streets in the "party district" of New York City to sample the opinion a certain demographic has toward America. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As a part of Watters' World and The O'Reilly Factor, Watters asks people ... continue reading


What would you do to get your childhood back? People spend big money to find their inner child in adult preschool Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Preschool Mastermind is a preschool for the adults in Brooklyn; it started the first week of March and ends the last week. Students come in every week, trying to get in touch with the magical world they left behind as their childhood ended. However, this adult ... continue reading


'Meet the Animals' SeaWorld continues to fight negative publicity from 'Blackfish' with new campaign Watch

Image of SeaWorld comes back to negative reviews with the

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. releases their new campaign, ahead of a book release by their former trainer John Hargrove. The company received a rapid decrease in audience attendance and revenue from negative responses after the release "Blackfish," a documentary ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 37:21-28
21 say, "The Lord Yahweh says this: I shall take the ... Read More

Psalm, Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12, 13
10 Listen, nations, to the word of Yahweh. On the ... Read More

Gospel, John 11:45-57
45 Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 28th, 2015 Image

St. Venturino of Bergamo
March 28: Dominican preacher and missionary crusader. A native of Bergamo, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter