It’s with a bittersweet heart that I write this article to my beloved home parish and the people God has trusted me to serve.
At the end of April I will be leaving Mother of God church and I will begin a year long assignment in Iraq.
Let that soak in.
Now, let me explain. When I first joined Seminary I knew that I would have to learn Chaldean, and maybe even Arabic, in order to serve the Chaldean Church. I even discerned becoming a Roman Catholic priest because the daunting task of learning these languages gave me such deep anxiety. God, however, made it clear to me that he called me to be a Chaldean Catholic and he was calling me to be a Chaldean Catholic priest.
Throughout my six years of Seminary and my almost seven years of priesthood I’ve worked at my Chaldean studies. I can celebrate mass and carry a very simple and broken conversation, but my time doesn’t allow me to really become fluent in the language. Being in Iraq, immersed in the language and culture will (hopefully) change that.
Also, I don’t know any Arabic and my lack of languages has hindered my ability to serve the many people of God whose preferred language is Arabic.
So, for the past few years I’ve been asking the bishop to send me to Iraq where I can study Chaldean and Arabic in a more immersed way, enrich myself with the culture of my forefathers, assist where I can in teaching English, build bridges with the Church in Iraq and the Church in Detroit, and be open to the graces the God has in store. With approval of Bishop Francis and Patriarch Sako, I’ll depart in early May and return in June of 2019.
This is my choice and I make it freely and with a very peaceful heart.
In the past couple years many places in Iraq have become more stable and I have great confidence in my safety because I’ll be going with an official assignment letter and be welcomed by the bishops with official letters.
My replacement will be announced in March and will begin in August.
I have great faith in this parish. It’s my home, it’s where I received the sacraments, where I fell in love with Jesus, and where I discerned my call to serve his Church. Now it’s time for me to better myself, serve elsewhere, and entrust my home to another priest.
Please keep me in your prayers. You will perpetually be in mine.
Everything for the greater glory of God.