The Remarks of H.B. Mar Louis Sako for the Inauguration Mass of Bishop Emmanuel Shaleta

Your Excellency Mar Emmanuel,

As the Diocese of St. Peter the Apostle celebrates the inauguration of her new shpherd, I would like to extend with you and with the parishioners my praise to the Lord, and to express my heartfelt congratulations and wishes for a ministry filled with love, honesty, generosity, humility, and continuous accomplishment.

On this blessed occasion, I also wish to express my appreciation to all those who played a role in this precious diocese:

Many thanks to the Apostolic Administrator, Mar Shlemon Warduni, for all his efforts with his assistants, Mar Bawai Soro, Monsignor Sabri Qajbo, and the priests in the service of this diocese throughout the vacancy of the See.

Many thanks also to Mar Sarhad Jammo, the first Bishop of this diocese, for his ministry for 14 years. May the Lord protect and bless him during his retirement. I hope he will continue to serve the church in a different way. He promised..

I would extend my thanks to Bishop Ibrahin Ibrahin who served this diocese as a priest And bishop. I think most of its churches were built during his time.

My gratitude also goes to the beloved priests and believers in this Diocese for their commitment and faithfulness to Christ and the Church.

Dear Bishop Emmanuel

Your appointment to this diocese amidst the severe circumstances of our Chaldean and Christian people in Iraq and abroad, especially in this diocese, is a sign of hope, unity, and recovery. What has been achieved by the blessing of the Lord and your pastoral care in the diocese of Mar Addai, Canada, is a promising sign for your new diocese.

The great challenges and instability confront us with a challenge to make efforts to think and search for in-depth and sound visions for the required renewal so we can convey to our believers the Gospel of hope and joy amidst their troubles, anxieties, and fears. We need a sustainable review of the way that we think, manage, and act. We cannot manage the church as we used to in the past because the events are accelerating and our people dispersed into several countries with different cultures, customs, and mentalities. And we have to take into account the invasion of social media in the community.

My sisters and brothers,

The bishop, like the priest, is not everything in the church. He is not a miracle-maker or a source of ultimate knowledge. First and last, he is a servant — a servant of a message, and the servant of the People of God. He is a shepherd who embraces them, follows up on their affairs, and helps them grow in the path of the Lord amid their tribulations. The Gospel that was put of the bishop on the day of his consecration is the Gospel of love, hope, service, and cooperation with everyone in humility, honesty, and self-giving, away from self-serving & deadly ambitions as Pope Francis is reputing. Thus, the words of St. Ignatius of Antioch the martyr in 108 may be fulfilled, “Where there’s a bishop, there is a diocese” (Izmir 8/2). This fruitful of labor requires that the bishop be prepared continuously through prayer, meditation, self-education, consultation, and cooperation, particularly with the priests and faithful of the diocese. It is this service of faith, humanity, and spirituality that shall help attain the fullness of Christ.

As for the relationship with the Patriarchate, it is true that the diocesan Eparch has jurisdiction over the affairs of his diocese, but he is also bound with the Patriarch, the father and the head of the Church. The lines drawn in the relationship with the Patriarch and the Synod cannot and should not be crossed. No synod may be held without the Patriarch, and no election of bishops and no essential decisions may be taken without him. Even your assignment was made thorough the patriarchate .Preserving the unity, identity, spirituality, and the living heritage of the church cannot be made without the Patriarchate, as the Patriarchate is within the universal church. This unity is its testimony and its sign of strength and richness.

My sisters and brothers,

The believers in the church are the people of the House, and its members. They are patterns and not a flock as we use to say. So, I invite all the believers of the diocese of St. Peter the Apostle to embrace their responsibilities each in accordance with their position and talent in order to effect unity and cooperate with their new bishop and priests for the good of the Church, the body of Christ, so that their diocese may become a yeast — an agent of unity and testimony, in an oasis of harmonious diversity, which shall allow nobody to tear apart their unity. Divisions in the Church are the reversal of its witness to Christ that keep the people away from their Lord. Divisions are indeed serious sins.

May all trivialities fall down and the essence remain, so that we may all, as clergy and believers, hold on to our Lord Jesus and the faithfulness to the Church and to our suffering people in Iraq and elsewhere.

Myself and the bishops, your brethren, shall accompany your new bishop, your priests, and each one of you with our prayers and our love. We also ask you to pray for us all, especially for the diocese of Mar Addai, in Canada, which is waiting for a new bishop soon, God willing.


To read the Patriarch’s remarks in Arabic, click here.