Monday, October 23, 2006

Chaldean Diocese of Australia/New Zealand

From the time I moved to Sydney in 1995, the Iraqi Chaldean community continued to grow in number. When I moved to the States in 2001, the Sydney Chaldean community finished building its first church.

The Chaldean community in Melbourne and New Zealand has grown at the same pace. Thanks to the immigration laws in Australia and New Zealand. People with proper education are able to immigrate to these two countries. Others arrive as refugees, but that's the hard way to get into those two countries.

It looks like the Pope noticed the growing number of this Eastern Rite Catholic community in Australia/New Zealand:

Australian and New Zealand Catholics who follow the Chaldean Rite will have their own Oceania eparchy or diocese and bishop, the Holy See announced on Saturday.

The President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Philip Wilson, welcomed the creation by Pope Benedict XVI of the Chaldean Eparchy of Oceania with the title of "St Thomas the Apostle of Sydney of the Chaldeans".

The Pope has appointed Archbishop Djibrail Kassab of Bassorah (Basra) in Iraq as the first Bishop of the new Eparchy. Archbishop Kassab will retains his title of Archbishop "ad personam", the Holy See announcement said.


Archbishop Djibrail Kassab is one of a kind. He's very energetic when it comes to his church duties. I attended mass at the Sacred Heart Chaldean Church in Baghdad while he was still the parish priest. After I left the country, he became the Archbishop of the Diocese of Basra. Basra is my beloved city of birth and residence for the first 22 years of my life. It's strange how he ended up in Sydney and Basra. The two cities I love the most.

Anyway, he needed this move after years of serving the Chaldean community in Basra during the good and bad times. As they say, Basra's loss is Australia's gain. I wish him luck in his new destination.

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