The Third European Chaldean Conference

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By: Robert Ewan
About 350 Chaldean Youth attended the third European Chaldean Youth Conference which took place from 7 to 12 August 2017 at Untermashtal monastery, 80 kilometers from Stuttgart, Germany. The slogan of the conference was “come and see” based on John 1:39. It was attended by the Chaldean Patriarch Louise I Sako and Bishop Saad Sirop, the Apostolic Visitor for Europe, together with several priests that represented their European parishes.

The conference was designed to deepen the bonds of love between the Chaldean youth in Europe by sharing a social, spiritual and cultural week. Ideas were introduced to help young people to engage with their European communities and the way of integration within them, yet maintaining their Chaldean culture and heritage with its true and authentic eastern ways. There were keynote presentations, prayers, workshops, Mass, and opportunities to participate in reconciliation and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as recreational and sports activities.

The conference officially began on Tuesday, August 8 with an opening Mass led by the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louise I Sako. In his homily, the Patriarch said: “following Jesus should be the youth’s first priority in life. Faith is a personal encounter with Jesus and he asked them to be witnesses of Jesus in Europe.”

He hoped that everybody will benefit from this gathering and to build a bridge between Chaldean youth throughout the world. He said: “I wish the next conference will be in Iraq so that you go back to your roots to share and witness the life that your counterparts they now live. You are our hope and we rely on you to help build a strong, united and effective church despite the distance between us. You should dedicate some of your voluntary time and experience by visiting your brothers and sisters in Iraq and to help them rebuild their villages as a sign of your love.”

The Patriarch concluded by saying: “You are the future of our Chaldean people and I urge you to be rooted in your traditions and customs and break your fear factor by raising your voices as free and responsible people.”

The young people asked the Lord to help all the displaced and oppressed people of the world, especially Iraq and Syria and prayed that they return safely to their homes.

Journalist and writer, Robert Ewan is the author of a new book: Doves in Crimson Fields – Iraqi Christian Martyrs, published by Gracewing. Review coming soon on ICN.