? The Golden Jubilee of Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim Priestly Ordination
? 30th Anniversary of the establishment of the Diocese.
? 30th Anniversary of Bishop Ibrahim’s Episcopal Consecration.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Southfield, MI (December, 2012) — On Sunday December 30, 2012, at 5 p.m. the Mass of Thanksgiving will take place at the Chaldean Cathedral — Mother of God Church — in Southfield, MI, located at 25585 Berg Road.
Following the mass, the congregation will be invited to greet the jubilant at an informal reception at the Social Hall of the Cathedral.
In 1982, His Holiness Pope John Paul II created the Apostolic Exarchate for the Chaldean Faithful residing in the United States of America and Bishop Ibrahim became the first Bishop of the new Chaldean Diocese.
Over the last 30 years, the Chaldean Community in the United States experienced tremendous growth. Several new churches were built including St. Thomas in West Bloomfield and St. George in Shelby Township. The list of achievements during Bishop Ibrahim’s tenure has empowered the Diocese to consolidate a strong faith foundation amongst the faithful in Michigan and across the country.
I addition to overseeing a Diocese of more than 150 thousand Chaldean population in Michigan alone, Bishop Ibrahim has celebrated the ordination of 12 new Chaldean priests in the United States (and two in Rome) from 1982-2012. Today, eight more young Chaldean men are preparing for the priesthood at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.
“When I first became the Bishop, I was a stranger in a strange land and I had so much to do,” recalled Bishop Ibrahim. “We had less than 10 priests in the entire United States then and today we have more than 20 priests in just the St. Thomas Diocese.”
He was born in October 1937 in the town of Telkaif in North of Iraq where he attended church with his family. He was barely a teenager – just 14 years old – when the young Ibrahim N. Ibrahim answered the call to the priesthood. In 1951 he joined the Patriarchal Seminary in Mosul. He took his theological training at the St. Solpice Seminary in Paris, and was ordained a priest in Baghdad.
As Bishop, preserving the Chaldean heritage of faith has always been a priority. By carrying on the Chaldean language, traditions, and faith practices, and by teaching the importance of strong family values, the Chaldean community has significantly maintained its identity in the United States under the leadership of His Excellency.
For the last two decades, in the aftermath of the Gulf Wars and the political and social turmoil in Iraq, Bishop Ibrahim has been deeply concerned for the fate of thousands of displaced Iraqi Christians seeking resettlement in the United States and elsewhere. He has led the tireless efforts of the Churches and other community organizations to aid the Iraqi Christians currently living in first countries of refuge such as Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Lebanon. He has traveled around the globe heading meetings with various International Resettlement Agencies and Embassies of the settlement nations, pleading the cases of his people to get them to safety.
During the past 30 years, Bishop Ibrahim played an active role in the Synod of the Chaldean Bishops. He has also been a member of the Permanent Durant Synod from 1987 to 2009. In 1996, he was appointed as the Patriarchal Visitor to the Chaldean faithful in Europe. He has compiled a comprehensive report assessing the spiritual current and future needs of these communities. In January 2006, Pope Benedict XVI, appointed Bishop Ibrahim as the Apostolic Visitor for the Chaldean faithful in Canada, and his recommendations resulted in the creation of the Mar Addai Diocese there.
In July 2002, the Diocese was split into two to serve the Chaldean faithful in the Eastern and Western States. His Diocese consisted of six churches in Metro Detroit and two in Chicago. Since the creation of St. Peter Chaldean Diocese for the Western States, St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese has continued to expand. The Eastern Catholic Re-evangelization Center in West Bloomfield was launched, and here more than 500 people participate in its weekly programs. St. George church was built in 2005 and in 2009 the Mission of Our lady of Perpetual Help was established in Warren. In 2010, Holy Martyrs Church was purchased in Sterling Heights and the construction of St. George Shrine began at Camp Chaldean and was completed in 2012. A new church in Illinois was purchased for the growing Chaldean population in the Chicago area.
As Bishop Ibrahim (75), heads into retirement as required by the Canon Law, his work is not done yet. A new church is planned to be built in Commerce Township, MI, and a Chaldean library bearing his name is being established. Over the last several weeks he has been visiting all the parishes in the Diocese to celebrate the anniversaries and to mobilize the community support of the library project.
“I am very confident that we have good candidates to succeed me,” said Bishop Ibrahim. “I am optimistic about the future and hopeful that the new Bishop will continue to build upon the foundations we have laid over the last 30 years.”
Media contact: Monsignor Zouhair Toma Kejbou
Mobile: (248) 918-9695
Detroit MI 48205