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 July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More U.S.

Remains of four early leaders of America uncovered in Jamestown with Catholic artifacts Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Under the floor of a Jamestown church, four body remains of the earliest English colonial leaders in America were unearthed. One was identified as Captain John Smith's rival, who researchers speculate to be part of a secret Catholic cell because of some artifacts ... continue reading


Planned Parenthood caught in FOURTH VIDEO showing the horrific practices of selling aborted baby organs

Image of Dr. Savita Ginde, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains' Vice President and Medical Director, standing in the harvesting lab.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Another new Planned Parenthood expose video has been released, making this the second video this week and the fourth revealing hidden camera video in total. The Center for Medical Progress claims to have hours upon hours of footage exposing Planned Parenthood of ... continue reading


AMC movie theaters issue warning to moviegoers urging them to stay vigilant during visit Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A unusual video message is being played at AMC Theaters in Central Florida, urging the audience to keep their eyes open to any bad agendas and malicious or suspicious actions within the establishment. The short film came to be after violent incidents inside movie ... continue reading


A massive 30,000 more immigrants expected to arrive to U.S. before year's end Watch

Image of Illegal immigrants continues to cross the U.S. border.q

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The number of illegal immigrant children and teens in the United States continues to increase. The United Nations and other humanitarian groups predict that a total of 30,000 more are expected to reach the U.S. before the year ends. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic ... continue reading


The youngest convicted murders released from jail after 15 years Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At just 12 and 13-years-old, two siblings confessed to killing their father's girlfriend and both were charged with first-degree murder as adults, despite evidence they were sexually abused by a family member. Yesterday, the two first faced the world they once knew. ... continue reading


Satanic statue secretly unveiled in Detroit, drawing Christian protest Watch

Image of Satanists secretly unveiled a nine-foot, one-ton statue of Baphomet, the horned devil god of satanic practice in an undisclosed location in Detroit this past weekend.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Satanists secretly unveiled a nine-foot, one-ton statue of Baphomet, the horned devil god of satanic practice in an undisclosed location in Detroit this past weekend. This has spurred on heavy protest from the city's Christian community. Hundreds gathered at Detroit's ... continue reading


Will Pope Francis be warmly welcomed in the United States? Watch

Image of Pope Francis will be in the United States in September.

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis will visit the United States for the first time ever in his lifetime during September. However, amid the excitement, the American populace may have lost some warmth towards the pontiff, who they once believed revived the Catholic Church in the country. ... continue reading


Will religious beliefs be acknowledged when Boy Scouts starts allowing gay leaders, volunteers? Watch

Image of Jennifer Tyrrell of Bridgeport, Ohio, a Cub Scout den leader who was kicked out in 2012 for being openly gay, embraces her son Cruz Burns.

By Kevin J. Jones, CNA/EWTN News

The Boy Scouts of America is moving to change its leadership standards in order to allow openly homosexual adult leaders and volunteers. While the organization promises that individual church-affiliated councils can choose their own leaders, at least one critic ... continue reading


THE THIRD VIDEO: The latest and most shocking footage of Planned Parenthood's abortion practices (WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO) Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

First there was a video revealing Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola casually discussing selling aborted baby organs over lunch, and admitting to using partial-birth abortions to get her hands on intact ... continue reading


Planned Parenthood HACKED, private employee information revealed Watch

Image of

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Planned Parenthood's website was hacked by a group of hackers who managed to gain access into Planned Parenthood and acquire the site's databases, including the names and email addresses of employees. These details were released by the hackers to the public. MUNTINLUPA ... 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, Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37
1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:4 "These ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 81:3-4, 5-6, 10-11
3 blow the trumpet for the new month, for the full ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:54-58
54 and, coming to his home town, he taught the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 31st, 2015 Image

St. Ignatius Loyola
July 31: St. Ignatius was born in the family castle in Guip˙zcoa, Spain, ... 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