Meet Your New Priests

Deacons Kevin Yono & Marcus Shammami

Meet Your New Priests

Meet Your New Priests 1200 300 Chaldean Diocese of St. Thomas the Apostle U.S.A
 

2020 Presbyteral Ordinations

On Saturday, July 4, Bishop Francis Kalabat will ordain Deacons Kevin Yono and Marcus Shammami to the priesthood.

Time: 11:00 AM (private ordination Mass, not open to public)

How to watch: The Mass will be broadcast live on the Chaldean diocese
YouTube and Facebook channels, and on our website at chaldeanchurch.org/live.

Deacon Kevin Yono

Age: 33

Parents: Karim and Nahla Yono

Home Parish: St. Thomas Chaldean Church (West Bloomfield, Michigan)

First Assignment: St. George Chaldean Church (Shelby Township, Michigan)

Mass of Thanksgiving (First Mass):
Sunday, July 5, at 10:30 AM (English Mass) at Mother of God Cathedral in Southfield, Michigan.

Who is your favorite Saint and why?
The Blessed Virgin Mary is my favorite Saint because she has always made her presence strongly known to me since I was a child. I see her strong intercession and motherly care for my vocation. No other Saint has brought me closer to Jesus the way she does. I truly can say she is my Mother and Jesus has revealed His love for me through her. 

What were you doing before you entered the seminary?
I worked in the family dollar store for many years before entering the seminary and went to college for about a year. It wasn’t until a few years of having a deeper conversion to my Catholic faith that I began to discern more fully. 

When did you first start to think about the priesthood?
I started thinking about the priesthood around the age of 13 after Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim spoke about vocations and God put it in my heart that day. It wasn’t until my deeper conversion around the age of 22 did I more fully seek to know God’s will.

How did your parents/family react when you entered the seminary?
Most of my family was supportive from the beginning. My parents were not initially on board but they came around after some prayer and discernment, realizing it was God’s will. I have a very close relationship with my family and am blessed by God to have so many people who love and support me.

What will you miss most about the seminary?
I will miss the people at Sacred Heart Major Seminary who have prayed for and supported me all these years. I will especially miss the beautiful oratory/chapel to pray in. Sacred Heart has been a home to me for the last 7 years, but at the same time, I’m excited about ministry.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing the Chaldean community in America?
I think one of the greatest challenges for the Chaldean community is that many families have done a lot to fit in economically in America but when it comes down to handing down their faith, we at times fall short. The majority of Chaldean families do not go to Sunday Mass, even though they would consider themselves to be Catholic. I think more families need to take time to reflect on their faith and stir up the grace they received at their Baptism and follow Christ more closely.

Before being able to address serious moral topics such as drugs, natural family planning, sexual immorality, abortion, lack of Father’s spiritual leadership in the home, and all the other social issues, we need to first go back to basics of, “who is Jesus to me? What does it mean that He is my Lord and my savior? Have I reflected on my Baptismal vows that my Godparents made in my name as a baby?” 

If I haven’t entrusted my life to Jesus Christ and begun to learn and experience what he has done for me on the cross, everything else will just sound like noise and won’t resonate with us. Our hearts need to be become unhardened by Jesus’ grace before we can face serious moral issues.

What excites you the most about becoming a priest?
I’m looking forward to celebrating Mass the most. God has truly humbled me with the honor of one day being able to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ through His Holy Spirit. I’m truly looking forward to doing my best to reflect Jesus in my life to others. If God uses me to help one person get closer to Jesus then I will be a happy priest. 

Deacon Marcus Shammami

Age: 26

Parents: Khalid and Muna Shammami

Home Parish: St. Thomas Chaldean Church (West Bloomfield, Michigan)

First Assignment: Holy Martyrs Chaldean Church (Sterling Heights, Michigan)

Mass of Thanksgiving (First Mass):
Sunday, July 5, at 12:00 Noon (English Mass) at St. Thomas in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

Who is your favorite Saint and why?
One of my favorite saints is St. Isaac of Nineveh. He was a monk-hermit who lived in southern Mesopotamia during the 7th century. One of the early Chaldean Church patriarchs, while visiting his region, met Isaac and was struck by his holiness, so he brought him back to be the bishop of Nineveh. He only remained bishop for a few months, leaving his seat to return to the mountains in solitude once more.

His writings and homilies are filled with much spiritual richness and wisdom, often speaking of the mystery of God and about the all-enveloping love that God has towards creation.

What were you doing before you entered the seminary?
I was a student at Wayne State University studying History while working as a waiter at a steakhouse. After three years at Wayne State, I stopped pursuing my degree and entered the seminary.

When did you first start to think about the priesthood?
It was a gradual process, but I first started thinking about the priesthood late in high school when I began to explore my faith in a deeper way and became more involved with the Church. The more I began to know the person of Jesus Christ, the more I wanted to give my all and serve Him. 

How did your parents/family react when you entered the seminary?
They weren’t as receptive to the idea at first, especially considering that I am the only son in the family, but now they’re really happy about my decision and have come around full circle. 

What will you miss most about the seminary?
I enjoyed the community aspect of seminary life, including the friends I’ve made, the classes, and the structured lifestyle. I am going to miss seminary a great deal but at the same time, you’re not called to be a seminarian, you’re called to be a priest. 

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing the Chaldean community in America?
One big challenge facing our community in America is losing our cultural uniqueness in the midst of “American Culture.” It’s one of the side effects of becoming more Americanized. If we don’t preserve our heritage and traditions in the United States and abroad, we may risk losing that which binds us so closely to our Church and faith. We must understand what the Chaldean Catholic Church is, what makes it unique, and to keep fast and close to those traditions.

What excites you the most about becoming a priest?
I am most excited about being able to celebrate the Sacraments, especially celebrating the Order of the Divine Mysteries (Mass) and the sacrament of reconciliation (confession). These are two Sacraments which helped me to realize the love and mercy of God in my own life. 

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