Facing uncertain future, Iraqi refugees sacrifice for education
Erbil, Iraq, (CNA): Less than a mile away from the local coffee shops, fancy restaurants, and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, some 60,000 displaced Iraqi Christians are taking refuge, tucked away in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Ankawa.
Having fled the violence of the Islamic State, some 150 Christian families have begun to settle into their new surroundings, which typically take the form of tents and shipment containers.
Displaced from their hometowns due to ongoing violence in Mosul, Tikrit, and Qaraqosh, they are accepting their temporary new living conditions, while realizing that for the foreseeable future, this is their life.
MOMS Group enjoys a day retreat at the convent
On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 40 women gathered at the convent of Our Lady of the Fields for a day retreat hosted by the Workers of the Vineyard. The retreat was based on the last chapter of St. John's Gospel and focused on the interaction between Jesus and the disciples. The women gathered at the convent at 8:30am and started the day off with morning prayer followed by Communion service. After enjoying a small breakfast, the retreat began and lasted until 2pm. The speakers included Sister Tarbytha Mariam, along with the newly ordained Fr. Ankido Sipo and Fr. Simon Esshaki. Confession was also available throughtout the retreat thanks to the visiting priests. Though the retreat was only a few hours, the women were able to draw closer to Christ through the different talks and activities planned for the day.
Reflection on the Basilica Hymn for the Third Sunday of the Resurrection
Article by Fr. Andrew Younan
For more reflections on the Basilica Hymns of each season, purchase Perpetual Jubilee: Meditations on the Chaldean Liturgical Year on Amazon.com.
The “bare fact” of the rising of Christ and the evidence that supports it such as the empty tomb was stated and reflected upon by means of this hymn three weeks ago on Easter Sunday, as the second section of the Basilica Hymn for that greatest Feast of the year. The same hymn is repeated here, presented for our reflection a second time. A similar thing happened during Lent, when the same hymn was used during the first and last week, and we saw that the purpose there was to allow us to look at the same words with different, changed eyes, with eyes that had endured the battle and look back to its beginning matured and tempered from the fight.
The Priestly Ordination of Fr. Ankido Sipo and Fr. Simon Esshaki Friday, April 10th, 2015
On behalf of our Parish Priests and Parish communities of Northern California Vicariate, I extend with prayers, most heartfelt sentiments to our beloved H.E. Bishop Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo, for the first fruits of St. Peter Diocese, made manifest in the priestly ordination of Fr. Ankido Sipo and Fr. Simon Esshaki. Your Excellency, may The LORD our GOD Who chose you to shepherd Fr. Ankido and Fr. Simon into a life of sanctity, consecrated in Christ’s Name, confer on you His unfathomable Mercy, so that by His Word and Grace, you continue to feed (us) His Church.
Bishop Francis Kalabat joins the seminarians of Mar Abba the Great for Morning Prayer
Written by: Seminarian Marlo Georgis
On Monday, April 13, 2015, the Seminary of Mar Abba the Great had a special guest come to the seminary to join us in praying Slotha d-Sapra (Morning Prayer), followed by Razanayth (Communion Service); His Excellency Bishop Mar Francis Kallabat. Fr. Andrew Younan, the Rector of the seminary, gave Bishop Francis a grand tour since it was Bishop Francis’ first time visiting the seminary. Before Bishop Francis’ departure, we were blessed by receiving a blessing from him. We thank Bishop Francis for blessing us by his presence, and we pray that the Lord strengthens him and the Holy Spirit guides him for fulfill his episcopal mission. We hope to see you soon, Bishop Francis!
Fr. Ankido Sipo celebrates his first Mass
On Sunday morning, April 12, 2015, newly ordained Fr. Ankido Sipo celebrated his first Mass at St. Peter Cathedral. Like Fr. Simon, Fr. Ankido chose to celebrate his first mass in Gushma (Chaldean) and was assisted by his former rector, Fr. Andrew Younan.
Fr. Ankido joined the newly established St. Joseph Monastery before his ordination. He is the first priest and monk of that order. We ask for continued prayers for our newly ordained priests.
Fr. Simon Esshaki celebrates his first Mass
On April 11, 2015 the newly ordained Fr. Simon celebrated the 5pm mass at St. Peter Cathedral. The church was filled with family and friends along with the many faithful who came to attend. During his homily, Fr. Simon spoke of how honored he was to be a priest of Christ. It was beautiful to hear the young priest celebrate his first mass in Gushma (Chaldean). Below are pictures and a video highlighting Fr. Simon's first mass.
St. Peter Diocese gains two new priests
St. Peter Cathedral was packed to the brim on Friday, April 10, 2015 for the priestly ordination of Fr. Ankido Sipo and Fr. Simon Esshaki. A truly historic event for St. Peter Diocese, the first two seminarians of Mar Abba the Great were ordained priests. The ceremony was witnessed by five bishops and over a dozen priests, not to mention the faithful who were so packed in the church that many were left standing or watching a live stream from the Hall. Hundreds of people also tuned into the live stream on www.kaldu.tv to share in this monumental event.
Priest of God, Celebrate this Mass as if it is your first Mass, Your last Mass and your only Mass.
After a second rehearsal with the Shamashe and lectors of St. Peter Cathedral, the faithful gathered in the church for a vigil. The day before ordination is often a nerve wracking time for the candidates. Knowing full well that they will never be the same after ordination, their nerves are under pressure the hours leading up to the priesthood. Therefore, on Thursday March 9, 2015, the faithful gathered in the Cathedral for a Holy Hour offered on behald of Deacon Ankido Sipo and Simon Esshaki.
Lent Season through Easter Sunday Commemorations and Celebrations at St. Matthew Catholic Church, Ceres-Ca
The Good News of The Risen Christ continue to echo in the hearts and minds of all who have come to believe in Him, and continue to evoke the message of The Cross to all mankind.
A new monastery and a new beginning
The Week of Weeks in the Chaldean church is always a beautiful time. In the East, each day of the week following Easter is considered Sunday. The Resurrection is so big that it can't only last for one day. The power of Christ's rising is remembered every single day the week following Easter.
For St. Peter Diocese, this particular Week of Weeks contains historic events that will be remembered in this diocese for years. One of these events took place on Wednesday, April 9, 2015 with the opening of St. Joseph Monastery. The newly established monastery is equipped to house up to 6 monks. Currently, three monks live in the monastery, one of them being the soon to be Father Ankido Sipo.
Deacon Ankido Sipo shares what he is looking forward to most in priesthood
What I am looking forward to most in the priesthood is at the same time what I am most fearful of: celebrating the Holy Mass and the Sacrament of Confession. In both, as in the mediation of all sacraments, the priest acts in persona Christi (in the person of Christ). That is, he stands in Christ's place, performs Christ's work, achieves Christ's goal, all with Christ's authority given him at ordination. This concept alone puts one in awe.
Deacon Simon Esshaki reflects on his future priesthood
The fact that I am going to be ordained a priest in three days is something that still hasn’t hit me and something that I still cannot believe. In over six years of being a seminarian I have been studying and trying to make myself the best follower of Christ I can be so that I can be a faithful priest. It is something that I have been working towards by God’s grace and it is by his grace that it will happen.
Preparing for Ordination
As the day of ordination draws near, the level of excitement present for the faithful of St. Peter Diocese grows stronger each day. This will be the first time St. Peter Cathdedral witnesses the ordination of priests and as we prepare for this historic moment, we ask the faithful to keep our future priests in their prayers especially at this time.
For many of the faithful, this will be their first time witnessing the ordination of priests. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry (CCC 1536). All priests are called to ministry, for Deacons Ankido Sipo and Simon Esshaki, the life of ministry began long before ordination. From the first year of joining seminary, the seminarians of Mar Abba the Great are immersed in the life of the parish from assisting at Masses, Baptisms and Weddings, as well as youth groups and Catechism school.