The Chaldean Voice Radio celebrated 41 years of service to the Chaldean community by hosting their annual fundraising event on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 at Shenandoah Country Club in West Bloomfield, Michigan. During the event, Fr. Manuel Boji was honored for all his contributions to the Chaldean Voice.

Speech Honoring Fr. Manuel Boji
Written by Janan Senawi, Chaldean Voice Radio

Good evening Ladies and gentlemen and thank you again for your support and generosity to the Chaldean Voice Radio, and for taking the time to be with us this tonight celebrating our 41-year anniversary.

The Chaldean Voice is delighted this evening to honor the Most Reverend Fr. Manuel Boji.   Fr. Boji being one of our own, and most esteemed members of the Chaldean Voice Family.  One who has volunteered his services diligently to the Chaldean Voice Radio and without any period of interruption for the last 33 years.

As many of you are already aware that Fr. Boji has retired from his priestly duties after 53 years of faithful ministry to the church, and has also retired from his role at the Chaldean Voice Radio.  It gives us great pleasure tonight to show Fr. Boji our love and gratitude for all that he has done over the years for his Church, for the Chaldean Voice Radio, and for the Chaldean Community as a whole. Today we present him with a special award called the Life Time Achievement Award.   An award given particularly to those who dedicate their lifetime to make a positive impact on people through their leadership and service.   

To the priest who dedicated his life to bringing us Jesus, we say Thank you. To the priest we always looked up to as a role model, and sought his spiritual advice on various aspects of our life, we say Thank you.  To the priest who was always personable, understanding, encouraging, and very supportive, we say thank you.

To the priest who never wavered in his duties and obligations toward visiting the sick, helping the needy, and especially looking after the elderly.  Fr. Boji being the visionary priest who contributed greatly to the establishment of the Chaldean Manor in Southfield, and the Chaldean Home Apartments of Sterling Hts. Both facilities provide housing for the elderly in our community, and promote social interactions among them, while keeping them within close proximity to their church.  On their behalf and ours, we say thank you.

 Fr. Boji being a futurist thinker. A priest who always looked ahead to the future and betterment of the Chaldean Church and Chaldean Community. He played a vital role in the process of the diocese’s purchase of Camp Chaldean in Brighton.  He diligently looked after the welfare & financial affairs of the Camp for many years. This facility would serve as a camp ground to increase fellowship and cultural ties among community members. The Camp would serve as a Retreat facility for the youth as well. Today Our Lady of the Fields Camp serves beyond the needs of our Chaldean church and Chaldean community, and has become a Catholic Co-Ed Camp and Retreat Center serving Catholic churches and Catholic schools in Michigan. Fr. Boji’s vision for the Camp was stretched out even further through his generosity and the generosity of his family. The Boji Family charitably donated to build the Mar Elia Retreat Center on the Camp grounds. The plans are to build a 28,000 square foot 40 bedrooms unit Retreat Center.  We pray that Fr. Boji will live to witness his dream come true, where this center can provide purpose for personal development, and reconnecting with God through prayer and contemplation to strengthen one’s faith.

Fr. Boji’s tremendous role in the Catholic Assyrian Chaldean Church in Georgia must be recognized. The church of Mar Shamoun Bir Sabbae began as a Mission in 1995, and in 2004 a growing number of Chaldean Parishioners in the U.S prompted the construction of the church there through their charitable giving.  The efforts to ensure that financial help was being provided by the community to that church was only possible through the guidance, persistence, and determination of Fr. Boji.  With this it can be said without any reservation that Fr. Boji contributed to the Chaldean Church in Iraq, the Chaldean Church in America, and in the establishment of the Chaldean Church in the Republic of Georgia. 

As for the Chaldean Liturgy, Fr. Boji has translated numerous liturgical prayers from (Gushma which is the traditional language of the mass to the simple Sureth words) that can be easily understood by the majority.  He believed that the church must change with the changing times.  Previously we would recite prayers during mass that we didn’t understand. With his work of translating so many prayers we are able today to participate in mass and pray in a language we speak and easily understand. Thank you Fr. Boji for your extensive and lengthy effort in this domain.

Fr. Boji did not only serve as the pastor of the parishes he served at Sacred heart in Talkaipe, Mother of God in Southfield, and Holy Martyrs in Sterling Hts. He served as Vicar General of our St. Thomas Chaldean Diocese in the U.S for 20 years.  He was the principal deputy to both bishop Emeritus Mar Ibrahim Ibrahim, and our current bishop His Excellence Francis Kalabat. His role as Vicar General allowed him the exercise of administrative & executive authority in Diocesan matters, and thus considered the highest official in the diocese after the Diocesan Bishop. 

Father Boji is known for being the innovative priest. One that would use any new and helpful means to reach others whether it be technology or media. A modern priest that kept with the times. The Chaldean Voice Radio was an avenue for him to reach others, especially those who didn’t go to church, or weren’t able to get to church.  He spread the word of the Gospel through his radio homilies, and was responsible for directing the religious segment of our program. He also produced and presented his own weekly segment called ” Fikrat al Yume.” In” Fikrat al Yume,” Fr.Boji  would  cover numerous topics that dealt with every avenue of  life whether it be religious, scientific, political , moral , or any other issues of the hour.  With his background in Sociology he had an insight into how societies are impacted by social causes and human experiences.  He would present the pros and cons of any given topic, and leave the listener with the thought to contemplate and decide on their own. In his 33 years at the radio he never missed a single segment and would record them even when he was overseas.  Additionally, Fr. Boji supported the radio as a yearly monetary sponsor through his charitable giving to ensure that we can continue our mission on the air.   Such commitment, dedication, diligence, and generosity deserve our most sincere gratitude. Father—on behalf of your Chaldean Voice family, and on behalf of all of our listeners who were greatly enriched by your segment, we say thank you, and salute your efforts. It is noteworthy to mention that during those 33 years father presented 1,716 episodes, and we hope that he would consider compiling them into a book.   

Kasha Manu-words are not enough to express the degree of respect and admiration we have for you. Presenting you with this Life Time Achievement Award is only a small token of our love and appreciation of your tremendous contributions, remarkable labor, vast accomplishments, enormous sacrifice, and outstanding priestly service to the Chaldean Community.  

Ladies and gentleman let us all stand and applaud as we call on Fr. Boji to receive his award. 

Written by: Janan Senawi
Chaldean Voice Radio