Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Sonja Corbitt

9/29/2010 (3 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 (3 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'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More U.S.

Catholics Come Home Launches Beautiful New Television Series for E.W.T.N. Watch

Image of Tom Peterson, the founder and CEO of Catholics Come Home

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I am happy to report to my readers that Catholics Come Home has produced a stunning and inspiring television series for the Eternal Word Television Network (E.W.T.N.). It began airing on Labor Day weekend. The series was filmed on location in various cities ... continue reading


Why I Said No to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Deadly Watch

Image of I was approached to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help bring an end to ALS. I said No. I have tried to explain why I said No in this article. I hope it is a helpful contribution in our public discussion. As a Christian, it is never easy to be seen as seemingly unwilling to support a noble cause such as the eradication of a debilitating disease. However, it is vital that we stand for for the fundamental and foundational moral truth which underlies every effort to end disease, the dignity of every human person, including embryonic human persons.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I was approached to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help bring an end to ALS. I said No. I have tried to explain why I said No in this article. I hope it is a helpful contribution in our public discussion. As a Christian, it is never easy to be seen as seemingly ... continue reading


Toward a Christian Vision of Human Work On Labor Day Watch

Image of Christians need to bear witness in the real world to the true value, purpose, meaning and dignity of all human work - just as we bear witness to the inherent value and dignity of every human worker. This is a vital part of our witness to an age which has lost its way.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Adam and Eve worked in the garden and it brought them great joy. For the Christian, work is meant to become a participation in the continuing redemptive mission of Jesus, and His ongoing work. Jesus viewed his entire life and mission as work. He was always doing ... continue reading


American Islamic terrorist Fort Hood shooter requests to join Islamic State as a 'citizen' Watch

Image of Nadal Hasan, the man who killed 13 people during a rampage at Fort Hood in 2009, has written a letter to the Islamic State asking to join the terrorist organization as a citizen.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. Army psychiatrist, Nadal Hasan, who killed 13 people at Fort Hood back in November 2009 has written a letter to the leader of the Islamic State, asking to become a citizen of the Islamic State's caliphate, an attorney of Husan reported on August 28. LOS ... continue reading


St Augustine on a Personal Relationship with Jesus Watch

Image of St Augustine

By Deacon Keith Fournier

But we too can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ's Heart and feel him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we ... continue reading


SHAKEN WINE: Strong earthquake jolts California's wine region Watch

Image of The weekend's temblor was felt widely throughout the region, from more than 200 miles south of Napa and as far east as the Nevada border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rumbled through the early Sunday morning hours in the heart of California's wine country. The epicenter was near the city of Napa in the Golden State's north. Fires erupted in a mobile home park where four homes were destroyed and two ... continue reading


Money is NOT the Root of Evil: Living Simplicity Watch

Image of Simplicity is not about the quantity of the goods of the earth we possess. It is about our relationship to them. Jesus said - Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21).

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Learning to live in evangelical Simplicity strips away what impedes love. In finding our proper relationship to the goods of the earth- not rejecting them, craving them, or turning them into an idol- we can learn true freedom. Our eyes are opened and everything begins ... continue reading


Is Transgenderism a Mental Disorder or a Right? Watch

Image of Pope Emeritus Benedict was absolutely correct when he said, - the profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. - Gender is a gift. It is also a given. The dangers of the Gender Identity Movement are becoming increasingly clear.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In a culture where freedom has been redefined as a right to choose anything and liberty has degenerated into license, the newspeak of the age has declared the instrumental use of the body of another to be sexual freedom. It is not freedom. It turns people into ... continue reading


WORST YET TO COME? Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen,' Pentagon says Watch

Image of IS is

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online has been keeping very close watch on the atrocities being committed by Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, and according to a top government official - the worst is yet to come. According to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the sophistication, ... continue reading


Lawsuit dropped against devil worshiper in Oklahoma Watch

Image of Lawyers representing Archbishop Paul Coakley had earlier demanded the return of a communion wafer obtained by the group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The leader of a satanic group in Oklahoma City had threatened that he and his followers would defile a consecrated communion wafer as an offering to Satan as a carnal sacrifice at a "Black Mass" ceremony inside Oklahoma City's Civic Center Music Hall. The ... 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, First Corinthians 3:1-9
1 And so, brothers, I was not able to talk to you as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:12-13, 14-15, 20-21
12 How blessed the nation whose God is Yahweh, the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:38-44
38 Leaving the synagogue he went to Simon's house. ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 3rd, 2014 Image

Pope Saint Gregory the Great
September 3: St. Gregory, born at Rome about the year 540, was the son of ... 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