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 June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


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


Comments


More U.S.

Catholic Church in U.S. has weathered adversity before - and will emerge triumphant, historian says Watch

Image of As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says.

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's okay to realize that ... continue reading


After same-sex unions legalized, polygamous Montana trio demands same Watch

Image of The 46-year-old Nathan Collier owns a refrigeration business in Billings. He married 40-year-old Victoria in 2000. His second wife, Christine, was wed in a religious wedding ceremony in 2007 without a marriage license in order to avoid bigamy charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was bound to happen. After the Supreme Court ruled same-sex unions legal in all 50 states, other proponents of non-traditional arrangements are clamoring for equality under the law. Nathan Collier, along with his wives Victoria and Christine have applied at ... continue reading


350-pound dolphin accidentally lands on cruise ship severely injuring woman Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To kick off the summer break and celebrate Father's day, a family went aboard a cruise that ended with a traumatizing accident. As the cruise started to sail back to the harbor, a group of dolphins started to swim alongside the boat. However, as the passengers started ... continue reading


Episcopalians overwhelmingly vote to let same-sex weddings in churches Watch

Image of Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples. The Episcopal Church has long been on the forefront of equal rights for homosexuals, ever since electing it first openly gay bishop 10 years ago.  LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


TERROR LEAK: ISIS learns of FBI command centers across U.S. for Fourth of July Watch

Image of One such likely ISIS candidate, 23-year-old Alaa Saadeh, was believed to be part of a group interested in detonating a pressure cooker bomb at a New York landmark.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It appears that an important bit of counter-terrorism may have landed into the wrong hands. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI is installing command centers around the nation to prepare for possible terror attacks for the coming Fourth of July holiday ... continue reading


Remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan 'feel forgotten' Watch

Image of Several US Troops felt abandoned and forgotten by the US government

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A total of 10,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan. These troops believe they have been forgotten by the Obama administration, as the US Government shifts its attention to ISIS. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The US Troops, 10,000 men and women left ... continue reading


Risk for massive earthquake in California increases as scientists find dangerous helium coming from fault zone Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers recently discovered helium leaking from a giant fault in the Earth's crust near Los Angeles, as well as discovering an increase in chance for California to have an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - They did not expect the ... continue reading


United States prepares for Fourth of July amidst threat of ISIS attacks Watch

Image of The U.S. Government prepares for possible terrorist attacks this coming Independence Day celebration in the U.S.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Three days before the United States' Independence Day, the FBI has already began setting up command centers in all of the 56 field offices across the country prior to the fourth. The U.S. Government is preparing for possible terrorist attacks and terrorist threats that ... continue reading


America's MOST and LEAST patriotic states in 2015 Watch

Image of Virginia [not pictured] has been named the most patriotic state.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A recent American pride survey, published on June 29, 2015, revealed Virginia to be at the top of the current list of the most patriotic states in the USA. WalletHub, a consumer website, evaluated the military and civic engagement of all 50 states, included in the ... continue reading


The Martyrdom of the Apostles Peter and Paul Invites Us Into a New Missionary Age Watch

Image of On this great Feast we need to rededicate ourselves to being true witnesses, with an adult faith, willing to participate fully in this new missionary age of the Catholic Church. May the blood of the Martyrs continue to be the seed of the Church. St. Peter and St. Paul, pray for us!

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Since at least the Third Century, Christians have commemorated this day as a Solemnity, the day when the two pillars of the Church, the great Apostles, Peter and Paul, met the Lord whom they served with such beauty, face to face in the communion of eternal love. ... 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, Genesis 22:1-19
1 It happened some time later that God put Abraham to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 115:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
1 Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to your name give ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:1-8
1 He got back in the boat, crossed the water and came ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 2nd, 2015 Image

St. Bernardino Realino
July 2: St. Bernardino Realino was born into a noble family of Capri, ... 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