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wedding guide



The best time to get married



Learning how to find the right spouse





Finding the best wedding invitation



Wedding desserts for every season of marriage


MEMORY LANE Old wedding photos

departments 6




Learning how to be married


A timeless wedding 8




How to overcome what went wrong on your wedding day








Catholic church’s teachings on NFP

Iraqi forces expect a tougher fight in Mosul’s west 12


IN MY VIEW Cardinal Burke wasting the Pope’s and everybody else’s time



feature 40


Trump targets greed and priviledge

Something borrowed, something blue, something bling 44



from the EDITOR

A Timeless Wedding PUBLISHED BY

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Publication: The Chaldean News (P-6); Published monthly; Issue Date: February 2017 Subscriptions: 12 months, $25. Publication Address: 30850 Telegraph Road, Suite 220, Bingham Farms, Michigan 48025; Application to Mail at Periodicals Postage Rates is Pending at Farmington Hills Post Office Postmaster: Send address changes to “The Chaldean News 30850 Telegraph Road, Suite 220, Bingham Farms, MI 48025”


hen I got engaged, I knew I wanted a tographers and all the vendors who participated fall wedding – in the month of Sepin our stories. Some I had to nag more than othtember preferably. It was a good thing ers, but I did get the information we needed to I booked my wedding a year in advance because craft our wedding issue. there was a good chance I would have had to We are delivering a several-page spread all wait longer. about weddings and marriage. We hope this not At that time, it was a given I would have my only helps you plan your day, but your life toreception at Southfield Manor. We had one of gether as husband and wife. We are fortunate to the last weddings held at our former club. It was have so many experts in this arena to talk with VANESSA either being one of the last at Southfield Manor and quote for our stories. And, nothing makes or the first at Shenandoah Country Club. I didn’t DENHA-GARMO this issue more complete than photos captured want a January/February wedding, so I decided EDITOR IN CHIEF by talented photographers. I am grateful to all for CO-PUBLISHER on the only Saturday left in September that year. sharing photos with us. When I planned If I were to get married today, I don’t know if it, I knew I wanted to I would do it any differently other than using a different look back at my wedvideographer. ding decades later I wanted my wedding to be timeless and nearly 13 years thinking I wouldn’t later, I can say it was and I hope will be 13 years from now. have changed a thing. If I have any advice, from my own experience, it is It proved to be a to choose vendors who know Chaldean weddings. Our great decision. My weddings are much different than a wedding from another wedding day was a culture. Vendors who know our culture and traditions, beautiful fall day with will know how to plan your day accordingly and will know overcast skies, which how to capture your day. I later learned is the There are so many hours that go into planning the day best climate for phothat flies by. You want it to be memorable, personable, tos outside. The banand identifiable as a wedding reflective of you as a couple. quet hall was adorned I recently found the CD we played for our wedding with warm fall flowsong. Even though it is from an unknown artist, it is still ers. My bridesmaids reflective of my husband and I and our life together. I walked down the wouldn’t change it. aisle in deep red At the end of the day, your wedding should be a mirdresses that were in line with the season. ror image of your love and life as a couple – it should be When planning this issue, I wanted to know what it timeless. is like to have a wedding at any time of the year. It is becoming more difficult to get your ideal wedding date with so many venues booked more than a year in advance. We bring you four stories in one for this month’s cover Alaha Imid Koullen story. It is our annual wedding guide and we wanted to (God Be With Us All) highlight seasonal weddings. In this cover story, we share Vanessa Denha-Garmo the wedding days of four couples in the four seasons the State of Michigan offers. Follow her on Twitter @vanessadenha I am grateful to the wedding planners, couples, phoFollow Chaldean News on Twitter @chaldeannews

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9/20/16 9:26 AM


in my VIEW

Cardinal Burke wasting the Pope’s and everybody else’s time


s far as Vatican controversies go, there are two brewing at the moment and American Cardinal Raymond Burke is in the middle of both of them. He served as the Archbishop of St. Louis, from 2003 to 2008, before MICHAEL G. being appointed to a couple SARAFA of prestigious posts in the SPECIAL TO THE Vatican by Pope Benedict. CHALDEAN NEWS He also has a title called the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which I’ll come back to. In the last couple of years, Pope Francis moved him out of influential positions as a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and earlier from the Congregation for Bishops, which holds sway over the appointment of new Bishops. Burke was reappointed to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, where his extreme orthodoxy and traditionalism will be less of a nuisance to Pope Francis. Controversy One: The Old and the Restless Burke, 68 led three other Cardinals (combined average age of 83) in drafting a letter (dubia) to Pope Francis complaining about the ambiguity and incoherence of the Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), the document that resulted from the two Synods on the Family. Dubia is a Latin word for “doubts.” The divisions created are complicated and involve modern attitudes towards marriage in the context of church sacraments and pastoral obligations. But one core controversy is this: Can remarried Catholics, who have not received an annulment, receive communion if they are technically living in “sin?” According to the dubia, the four Cardinals say this issue is black and white based on prior teachings and moral history and the answer is “no.” According to Pope Francis and to Amoris Laetitia, the answer requires discernment on a case by case basis so that those who are wounded can be accompanied on their path by a pastor who attends to his flock in the place where they are as opposed to using only moralism and rigid legality. I’ve written on this before that it’s hard for me to believe that if Jesus showed up today, this particular problem would be on the top of his mind. But this dubia letter, initially a private communication, has exposed a deep rift in the Church and the existence of a small, but emboldened, opposition group to the Pope. When Francis essentially ignored the letter, the Cardinals made it public. When it became clear that he was not going to respond, Burke, seemingly on his own, threatened a “formal correction.” This arcane term of art from canon 8



law has not been used in centuries and refers to the Cardinal’s ability to correct a grave error or heresy by the Pope. Burke isolated himself further, even from his fellow Cardinal doubters, by going that far. For Francis’ part, he is not being petty by not responding. He simply disagrees with the premise that the Amoris Laetitia changes prior teachings. Burke is so sure of himself here that when asked if he was concerned about losing the Pope’s favor (this has already happened by the way) he said he was more concerned about the Last Judgment. If you’re divorced and remarried and active in Church, God bless you. I don’t think anyone, other these octogenarians in Rome with too much time on their hands, really cares.

Controversy two: Dumb and Dumber It gets better. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is more than 1000 years old and exists to defend the faith and help the poor. They do a great deal of good around the world. It is the off shoot of the Knights Hospitaller from the 11th century that use to provide medical care for Pilgrims to the Holy Land. Cardinal Burke is their patron. This controversy is rooted in byzantine questions of hierarchy and governance questions between the Vatican and independent Catholic organizations. The Order of Malta has formal diplomatic ties with more than 100 countries and has its own stamps and passports. Here is what happened. The Grand Master (Festing) fired the Grand Chancellor (Boeselager). Why? He was overseeing a program in Myamar that, amongst other forms of help for sex slaves, involved distributing condoms.

Now lest you think that Boeselager supported the program, he did not. He had already ended two similar programs, in other places, but somehow ending the program in Myamar would end a slew of other medical services to the poor. We are not talking about condom distribution at Catholic schools in Bloomfield Hills or the suburbs of Paris. This was being done in one of the most depraved places on earth where human rights violations and sexual abuses run rampant. Apparently, just as in any good bureaucracy, there are rules and Order of Malta officials cannot just be “sacked.” But one way around the rules is to seek the permission of the Vatican, which was Cardinal Burke, and Grand Master Festing did. The problem was that the Vatican’s direction was to pursue “dialogue.” Instead, with Burke present, the Order dumped Boesalager anyway. In response, the Pope commissioned a five-member panel to investigate the matter, which the Order and Burke have rejected, and say they will not cooperate with it. Set aside the stupidity of a Catholic Church that will not distribute condoms to protect against HIV and sex slave pregnancy’s in Africa, these guys are consuming themselves about the job status of someone overseeing this program from a different continent. Dumb and dumber. In the process, they continue to throw up these absurd challenges to the Pope’s authority and Francis’ overriding emphasis on mercy and discernment over legalism and rigidity. The main cheerleader for the anti-Francis crowd is Cardinal Raymond Burke. Burke is the guy that said Catholic Churches should deny then U.S. Senator John Kerry Holy Communion. He also resigned from a Catholic hospital board because pro-choice singer Cheryl Crow was invited to sing at a charity concert for the hospital. He ranted about Notre Dame University granting President Obama an honorary degree calling it “the greatest scandal.” This guy apparently cannot distinguish between the assertion of Catholic morality and teachings, versus common sense and decency. He is prone to extreme formality, traditionalism and regality. Some of his vestments have trains longer than a royal bride and his dress otherwise suggests he may have spent too much time in his mother’s closet when he was growing up. It would be good if he would go away. But short of that, as a Catholic prelate, he should try to stay focused on the core of the Gospel message of love and mercy. Burke needs to get out of the Pope’s face and let him do the job that God has called him to do, and that his fellow Cardinal Electors chose him to do. At a minimum, he should stop wasting Francis’ and everyone else’s time with nonsensical issues that are a distraction to the core mission of our faith.

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24 8 - J E W E L E R



Fasting for Ba’utha In the days of His Excellency Bishop Beth Garmey, a deadly plague broke out in Nineveh and many other regions throughout the world. In desperation, the town officials turned to the Church. After great meditation and prayer, Bishop Beth Garmey heard the voice of an angel telling him to order all the people of the village to fast, just as the people of the Bible had done in the story of Jonah (Jonah1-4). In great haste the bishop told the people of the city and the great fast began. After five days of fasting and prayer, the region was completely cured of the plague and the Chaldean nation as we know it was spared. After such a miraculous event Bishop Beth Garmey implored the synod of bishops that this fast be repeated every single year in thanksgiving to God. It has been observed ever since as Ba’utha d Ninwaye (Rogation of the Ninevites). Ba’utha is fasted every year in repentance, exactly three weeks before Lent, which is February 6, 7, and 8 this year.

Reverend Gerard Battersby

Reverend Robert Fisher

Archbishop Vigneron Ordains Two Bishops for Detroit On Wednesday, January 25, two priests were ordained bishops for the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit. The ordination ceremony was led by Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit. The men ordained bishops are Reverend Gerard Battersby, who most recently served as Vice Rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary and continues to serve as pastor of St. Mary of Redford Parish in northwest Detroit, and Reverend Robert Fisher, who serves as pastor of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak. The men will be “auxiliary bishops” in the Catholic church, meaning they will assist Archbishop Vigneron in shepherding the six-county, 1.3-million member Archdiocese of Detroit. The ordination ceremony included in a Catholic Mass, lasted approximately three hours. The ceremony included a reading of the letter from Pope Francis naming the two priests as bishops; an examination of the candidate; the laying on of hands; the imposition of the Book of Gospels; the prayer of consecration; the anointing of the bishops’ heads; the presentation of the Book of Gospels; and the investiture with rings, mitres, and pastoral staffs. A reception followed at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, 2701 Chicago Boulevard (at Linwood), Detroit.

Cry of Nineveh Catholic speaker and author Joyce Coronel pens a novel from real events happening in Iraq. It is a compelling and gripping story that moves at a fast pace. It is engaging and depicts reality and true sufferings of the Iraqi Christians. It is a great book club read and most certainly will prompt a lively discussion.

Creating a Classroom TEACH helped fund a makeshift kindergarten classroom for displaced students in the village of Ankawa. Initially, funds from TEACH were used to get the program going. Since then, money from other subgroups in Help Iraq have been providing financial assistance. “The kids are so happy to be in school,” said Margaret Shamoun, co-founder of TEACH. 10



Dental Duo Husband and wife dentists Furat and Mayce George opened a new dental practice in Farmington Hills called Enamel Dental Studio. “This has been something we have been waiting for, for so long; we are thankful to the Lord,” said Mayce who is a general dentist providing care to patients of all ages. Furat is a Prosthodontist, providing specialty care in implants, and full-mouth rehabilitation. The two are active members in the Chaldean community as volunteers of Mother of God Church serving the Arabic mass in the choir. They are also active with ECRC and with Visit

People in the News Corbin Yaldoo has joined the Bloomfield Hills.-based Mid-America Real Estate – Michigan, Inc. brokerage team. In his new position as Senior Sales Associate, Yaldoo will be specializing in landlord representation and placement of retailers in regional and neighborhood shopping centers throughout the state of Michigan. He will be actively working with clients ranging from local private companies to institutional landlords and REITS.

IRAQ today

Iraqi Forces expect tougher fight in Mosul’s west BY SUSANNAH GEORGE

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) _ A crowd of Iraqi officers looked out at the Tigris River from a balcony of Mosul’s Nineveh International hotel. Just over three months ago, the men were some 45 kilometers (28 miles) away in a cluster of desert villages on the edge of Nineveh plain. “Our message to the rest of Mosul’s residents is that victory is near,’’ said Lt. Gen. Abdul-Ghani al-Asadi, on a celebratory tour after the city’s east was declared largely liberated on Wednesday. The progress of Iraqi forces, halting at first, sped up this month as they closed in on the river that roughly divides Mosul into eastern and western halves. But that momentum is unlikely to be sustained and the city’s western half is poised to be a much tougher fight for the already fatigued forces. IS Defenses When Sgt. Maj. Hussam Abdul-Latif pushed into Andalus on the morning of Jan. 16, he said the fight for the small neighborhood about a kilometer from the Tigris was nothing like his earlier battles in Mosul. This time, he said most IS fighters here fled hours before his troops arrived. Safwan Thanoon, an Andalus resident, said dozens of fighters sped off on motorcycles overnight. “This morning, not a single man was left, just those two corpses,’’ he added, pointing to a mangled body of an IS fighter in the street and another inside the garden of a nearby house. “If they had stayed here it would have made the battle very difficult,’’ said Abdul-Latif, the special forces officer, explaining how when he first breached Mosul, a handful of snipers holed up within houses and using civilians as shields would slow his convoy, giving dozens of car bombs time to target the stalled forces. The defensive strategy inflicted high casualties and forced long pauses between pushes. “When we enter the other bank, it will be like the operation beginning all over again,’’ Abdul-Latif said. He expects to face another wave of well-planned defenses and more heavily armed IS fighters. “Complicated Environment’’

Mosul’s west is more densely populated and home to the city’s oldest neighborhoods. The United Nations estimates some 750,000 people are still in the city’s west, many of them residents of outlying villages that IS fighters led on forced marches up the Tigris River valley as they lost ground there. Narrow, winding streets are also expected to pose a particular problem as Iraqi troops won’t be able to largely fight from inside their vehicles like they did in the city’s east. “We don’t have a strategy yet for these areas,’’ Maj. Gen. Sami al-Arithi said, referring to the older parts of Mosul. “For now our approach will be to just surround them and wait.’’ U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin, said Mosul’s older districts, some with roads only wide enough for foot traffic, make that part of the city a more “complicated environment.’’ “West Mosul will be as tough as east Mosul, and from our view even tougher,’’ he said, in a phone interview from the main coalition base in Baghdad’s green zone. Momentum Retaking the Andalus neighborhood came on the heels of a string of advances in eastern Mosul. Within a few days Iraqi troops retook the city’s university, the Nineveh International hotel and more than half dozen eastern neighborhoods. Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin, the commander of coalition ground forces, credited the swift progress with greater coordination between Iraq’s disparate security forces that allowed Iraqi ground troops to push back IS by launching coordinated attacks. “They’re attacking the enemy from multiple directions and the enemy cannot react,’’ he said. However, Iraqi ground forces largely credit their victories to thinning IS defenses and nighttime raids across front lines aimed at taking out key local militant leadership. Iraq’s special forces first began carrying out such raids in Fallujah with close coalition support. In Mosul, as progress stalled, coalition forces moved

Nineveh International hotel

deeper into the city in part to aid in the nighttime operations, according to an Iraqi officer who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief the press. After U.S.-led coalition airstrikes partially destroyed all five bridges spanning the Tigris, the number of car bombs targeting the troops decreased and they became less sophisticated. Iraqi troops began seeing fewer of the heavily armored car bombs that coalition officials likened to vehicles out of the Mad Max movie franchise. IS fighters also began running out of supplies. As troops pushed closer to the Tigris, special forces Lt. Gen. AbdulWahab al-Saadi reported finding fewer and fewer weapons stockpiles left behind in the houses once used by IS fighters as bases, suggesting fighters were running low on munitions. Humanitarian Concerns But the cordon of Mosul’s east that partially accelerated Iraqi gains there also punished the civilian population and threats of a prolonged siege of the city’s west are already worrying aid groups. Mustafa Muahmmad’s brother is stuck in western Mosul and every few days he’s able to get a phone call or text message from him. His brother told him water and electricity are intermittent and food prices have soared as the wealthiest residents stockpile everything they can. “They are all just huddled in the basement,’’ said Muhammad of his brother and his young family. “At the beginning (of the operation) they were afraid for us,’’ he said, “and now we are afraid for them.’’ Some aid groups have already begun drafting contingency plans to airdrop humanitarian supplies into the city, according to a senior western diplomat present at military planning meetings. The diplomat did not have

clearance to brief the press and so spoke on condition of anonymity. Re-Burying Their Dead Like many families who lost loved ones during the Mosul operation, it was too dangerous for Faris Danoon to travel to his neighborhood’s graveyard after a mortar attack killed his son Younis “All the roads were blocked,’’ he said, explaining he was forced to bury the 10-year-old boy in a garden beside his home. “His mother can’t bear it, she is just crying all the time,’’ he said. As security improves in the city, more and more families could be seen exhuming relatives who they had given makeshift burials amid clashes and reburying them in proper cemeteries. The Nineveh governorate estimates more than 5,000 civilians have been killed and injured inside Mosul since the operation to retake the city began. Hospitals in neighboring Irbil report treating 1,587 civilians, according to data collected by the United Nations. But that number doesn’t include civilians who have died inside Mosul or those injured and treated within the city. Iraqi troops have also experienced similarly high casualty rates; Irbil hospital officials and Iraqi medics working inside Mosul estimate that more than 1,600 Iraqi troops have been injured or killed during the Mosul operation. The number excludes Kurdish forces known as the peshmerga who participated in the initial stages of the fight. Special forces private Sahil Najim, a 37 year-old from Wasit province in southern Iraq, said in his company alone, more than 30 men have been killed in the last three months. “This is our duty,’’ Najim said, “so of course it is worth it. But we still feel sorrow, how could you not?’’ FEBRUARY 2017


CHAI time


COMMUNITY EVENTS IN AND AROUND METRO DETROIT FEBRUARY 2017 miss an opportunity to meet some of the most sought after leading wedding professionals and learn creative ideas for your wedding! Many exhibitors will be offering demonstrations, samples and money-saving show specials. I tis taking place at the Inn at St. John’s located at 44045 Five Mile Rd Plymouth, MI 48170. Visit

Wednesday, February 1 Theater: The Lion King is showing at the Detroit Opera House located at 1526 Broadway Detroit, Michigan. The Lion King is a 1994 American animated epic musical film, produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Visit detroitopera. Wednesday, February 1 Faith: Fikra Wa Nagma with Karam Bahnam (also write this in Arabic if you can) at ECRC. Starts at 7:00 p.m. Thursdays, February 2, 9, 16, and 23 Faith: Theology with Hubert Sanders at Holy Martyrs. Starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 3 Faith: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus with Mass at ECRC. Holy Hour start 6:30 p.m. Saturday, February 4, Festival: Berkley Winter Festival – Berkley Winterfest from noon to 3 p.m. Berkley Community Center Complex (2400 Robina, Berkley, MI 48072, 248658-3470) Enjoy winter sports, indoor and outdoor crafts, a snowman building contest, carnival games, ice sculptures, turkey bowling, a winter petting farm, bonfires and more at the 2017 Berkley Winterfest. Presented by Berkley Parks and Recreation. Saturday, February 4 Festival: Milford Winter Festival – Milford Township Community Snow Day from 3 to 5 p.m. Downtown Milford at Central Park Enjoy hot chocolate, ice-skating, winter kayak sledding and more (weather permitting). Hosted by Milford Township.

Mondays, February 6, 13, 20, and 27 Faith: Apologetics & Theology with Jeff Kassab at ECRC. Class starts at 7:00 p.m. and ends at 9:00 p.m. Tuesdays, February 7, 14, 21, and 28 Faith: Bible Study (The Gospel of Matthew) with His Excellence Bishop Francis. Starts at 7:00 p.m. Friday, February 10 Faith: Healing Service with Tom Naemi at ECRC. Starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday, February 10 – Sunday, February 12 Festival: Utica Winter Festival – Utica Ice Festival 2017 Downtown Utica. Enjoy ice sculptures, food and drink specials, live entertainment, carriage rides, open ice skating, and… FIREWORKS at Utica Memorial Park at 8:20p on Saturday evening. Hours are 4p-9p on Friday, Saturday from 9a-5p, and Sunday from 8a-noon. For more info, visit Sunday, February 12 Event: Whimsical Occasions in Plymouth Live Fashion Shows & Prizes Every 15 Minutes!! Take pleasure in an afternoon filled with wedding exhibits, planning ideas, fashions and fun! Don’t

Friday, February 17 Faith: Alpha at Faith Night at the Club at Shenandoah. The Alpha Course provides the building blocks of the Christian faith in a relaxed and judgement free environment. Whether you question the existence of God, are a devout Catholic or find yourself somewhere in the middle, the Alpha course is for you.  Starts at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, February 18 Festival: Clawson Winter Festival – Fire and Spice 2017 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Downtown Clawson. This annual event features fire breathers and jugglers, in addition to ice carvers creating custom designs and a Kids Craft Tent! Don’t forget to stay for the chili cook-off, the proceeds of which are donated to local charities. For more info, visit www. Sunday, February 19 Festival: Southfield Winter Festival – Southfield Winter Fest from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Southfield Pavilion (26000 Evergreen Rd, Southfield, MI) Games, crafts, and inflatables fun. Refreshments available for purchase. Tickets are available at the P&R Info Desk. For more information, contact Southfield Parks & Recreation at 248-796-4620 or visit Friday, Friday 24 Faith: Ignite the Spirit at different parishes. Enjoy a night of Eucharistic Adoration, meditation, and song. You are invit-

ed to praise the Lord through his gift of music and to grow in a deeper love and intimacy with Him. Starts at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, February 25 Gala: The United Community Family Services/ CALC is hosting its Annual Gala at Shenandoah Country Club in West Bloomfield. It takes place at 7 p.m. Since 1961, the Chaldean American Ladies of Charity (CALC) has continually assisted the needy families of the metro Detroit area. The CALC is a nonprofit charitable organization that operates with over 98% of donations going directly to the less fortunate. Visit Sunday, February 26 Show: Brides-to-Be Show is taking place in Southgate at the Holiday Inn located on Northline Rd. It’s about planning the perfect day. They are hosting hundreds of vendors with opportunities to talk to wedding experts one-on-one. Visit Wednesday, March 1 Event: The Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce presents Industry Outlook: Women Leaders in the Chaldean Community. The event will be held at The Bird & The Bread, located at 210 S Old Woodward Ave, Birmingham, MI 48009, from 6:00 p.m - 8:00 p.m. The program will be moderated by Vanessa Denha Garmo and begins at 6:30 p.m.  Appetizers, wine and beer are included. Guest speakers include Dr. Marisa Abbo from Covenant Community Care, Renee Lossia-Acho from KW Domain Luxury Homes International, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Hala Jarbou, and Christine Jonna Piligian from Jonna Realty Ventures, Inc. This is a free event for members only.  Please RSVP to Mary Kirma by Thursday, February 23rd at 248-996-8340 or

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THE DIOCESE OF ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE IN THE UNITED STATES St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Diocese 25603 Berg Road, Southfield, MI 48033; (248) 351-0440 Bishop: Francis Kalabat Retired Bishop: Ibrahim N. Ibrahim HOLY CROSS CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 32500 Middlebelt Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48334; (248) 626-5055 Rector: Msgr. Zouhair Toma Kejbou Mass Schedule: Weekdays, noon in Chaldean; Saturdays, 4:30 p.m. in English; Sundays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean and Arabic, noon in English, 6 p.m., in Arabic HOLY MARTYRS CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 43700 Merrill, Sterling Heights, MI 48312; (586) 803-3114 Rector: Fr. Manuel Boji Parochial Vicar: Fr. Andrew Seba Bible Study: Mondays, 7 p.m. in Chaldean; Thursdays, 8 p.m. Seed of Faith in English; Saturdays, 7 p.m. Witness to Faith in Arabic Youth Groups: Wednesdays, 7 p.m. for High Schoolers Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 9 a.m. in Chaldean; Saturdays, 5 p.m. in English; Sundays: 9 a.m. in Chaldean and Arabic, 10:30 a.m. in English, Morning Prayer at noon, High Mass at 12:30 p.m. in Chaldean; 6 p.m. in English MAR ADDAI CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 24010 Coolidge Highway, Oak Park, MI 48237; (248) 547-4648 Pastor: Fr. Stephen Kallabat Retired Priest: Fr. Suleiman Denha Adoration: Last Friday of the month, 4 p.m. Adoration; 5 p.m. Stations of the Cross; 6 p.m. Mass; Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Bible Study: Fridays, 8-10 p.m. in Arabic and Chaldean Youth Groups: Thursdays, 7:30-9 p.m. Jesus Christ University High School and College Mass Schedule: Weekdays, noon; Sundays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean and Arabic, 12:30 p.m. High Mass in Chaldean MOTHER OF GOD CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 25585 Berg Road, Southfield, MI 48034; (248) 356-0565 Administrator: Fr. Pierre Konja Retired Priest: Fr. Emanuel Rayes Bible Study: Mondays, 7-9 p.m. in English; Wednesdays, 7 p.m. for college students in English Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 10 a.m.; Tuesdays, 8:45 p.m. in English; Saturdays, 4 p.m. in English; Sundays: 8:30 a.m. in Arabic, 10 a.m. in English, noon in Chaldean, 7 p.m. in English OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 11200 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48093; (586) 804-2114 Pastor: Fr. Fadi Philip Parochial Vicar: Hermiz Haddad Bible Study: Thursday, 8 p.m. for ages 18-45; Friday, 8 p.m. in Arabic. Teens 4 Mary Youth Group: Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.  Confession: 1 hour before mass or by appointment. Adoration: Thursday, 5-7 p.m. Chapel open 24/7 for adoration. Mass Schedule: Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m. in Chaldean; Thursday, 1 p.m. in English and 7 p.m. in Chaldean; Friday 7 p.m. in Chaldean; Sunday, 10 a.m. in Arabic and 12:30 p.m. in Chaldean. SACRED HEART CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 30590 Dequindre Road, Warren, MI 48092; (586) 393-5809 Pastor: Fr. Sameem Belius Mass Schedule: Sundays, 10 a.m. in Arabic, 12:30 p.m. in Chaldean ST. GEORGE CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 45700 Dequindre Road, Shelby Township, MI 48317; (586) 254-7221 Pastor: Fr. Wisam Matti Parochial Vicar: Fr. Matthew Zetouna Youth Groups: Disciples for Christ for teen boys, Tuesdays, 7 p.m.; Circle of Friends for teen girls; Thursdays, 6 p.m.; Bible Study for college students, Wednesdays 8 p.m. Bible Study: Wednesdays, 8 p.m. in English; Fridays, 8 p.m. in Arabic Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean; Wednesdays, 7 p.m. Adoration; 8-10 p.m. Confession; Saturdays, 6:30 p.m. in English (school year); 6:30 p.m. in Chaldean (summer); Sunday: 8:30 a.m. in Chaldean, 10 a.m. in Arabic, 11:30 a.m. in English, 1:15 p.m. in Chaldean; 7:30 p.m. in English Submission Guidelines The Chaldean News welcomes submissions of obituaries. They should include the deceased’s name, date of birth and death, and names of immediate survivors. Please also include some details about the person’s life including career and hobbies. Due to space constraints, obituaries can not exceed 300 words. We reserve the right to edit those that are longer. Send pictures as a high-resolution jpeg attachment. E-mail obits to, or through the mail at 30850 Telegraph Road, Suite 220, Bingham Farms, MI 48025.




ST. JOSEPH CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 2442 E. Big Beaver Road, Troy, MI 48083; (248) 528-3676 Pastor: Fr. Rudy Zoma Parochial Vicar: Fr. Bryan Kassa Bible Study: Mondays, 7 p.m. in Arabic; Tuesdays, 7 p.m. in English; Thursdays, 7 p.m. Chaldeans Loving Christ Youth Group for High Schoolers Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean except Wednesdays, 10 a.m. in Arabic Saturdays, 6 p.m. in English and Chaldean; Sundays, 9 a.m. in Arabic, 10:30 a.m. in English, noon in Chaldean, 2 p.m. in Chaldean and Arabic, 7 p.m. in Chaldean Baptisms: 3 p.m. on Sundays. ST. PAUL CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 5150 E. Maple Avenue, Grand Blanc, MI 48439; (810) 820-8439 Pastor: Fr. Ayad Hanna Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 6 p.m.; Sundays, 12:30 p.m. ST. THOMAS CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 6900 Maple Road, West Bloomfield, MI 48322; (248) 788-2460 Administrator: Fr. Bashar Sitto Parochial Vicars: Fr. Jirgus Abrahim, Fr. Anthony Kathawa Retired Priest: Fr. Emanuel Rayes Bible Study: Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. in Arabic Youth Groups: Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. Girls Challenge Club for Middle Schoolers; Wednesdays, 7 p.m. Chaldeans Loving Christ for High Schoolers; Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. Boys Conquest Club for Middle Schoolers Other: First Thursday and Friday of each month, 10 a.m. Holy Hour; 11 a.m. Mass in Chaldean; Wednesdays from midnight to Thursdays midnight, adoration in the Baptismal Room; Saturdays 3 p.m. Night Vespers (Ramsha) in Chaldean Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean; Saturdays, 5 p.m. in English; Sundays, 9 a.m. in English, 10:30 a.m. in English, 12:30 p.m. in Chaldean, 2 p.m. in Arabic; 6 p.m. Grotto is open for Adoration 24/7 for prayer and reflection ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ CHALDEAN SISTERS/DAUGHTERS OF MARY OOUR LADY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION ORDER Superior: Benynia Shikwana 5159 Corners Drive West Bloomfield, MI 48322; (248) 615-2951 CHALDEAN SISTERS/DAUGHTERS OF MARY HOUSE OF FORMATION 24900 Middlebelt Road Farmington Hills, MI 48336; (248) 987-6731 ST. GEORGE CONVENT Superior: Mubaraka Garmo 43261 Chardennay Sterling Heights, MI 48314; (586) 203-8846 EASTERN CATHOLIC RE-EVANGELIZATION CENTER (ECRC) 4875 Maple Road, Bloomfield Township, MI 48301; (248) 538-9903 Director: Patrice Abona Daily Mass: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. First Friday of the month: 6:30 p.m. Adoration, Confession and Mass Bible Study in English: Tuesdays 7 p.m. ST. GEORGE SHRINE AT CAMP CHALDEAN 1391 Kellogg Road, Brighton, MI 48114; (888) 822-2267 Campgrounds Manager: Sami Herfy

Ba’utha – The Supplication of the Ninevites


special mini-season is the three day emulation of the Supplication of the Ninevites, remembering the preaching of Jonah to the city of Nineveh. This penetential celebration was added to the calendar in the 6th Century AD following an epidemic which ended after a period of penance and prayer. This year, Ba’utha will be celebrated on February 6th, 7th and 8th. The Pleading of Ba’utha In pain and tears and fervent prayer, we cry to you, good Lord above! Be our healer and our wise guide: deep are our wounds; bitter our pain. We have no right to plead to you: our faults abound, our malice soars. The sea and land, and all therein have quaked and raged due to our sin. In our own time, as Scripture says, the end of days has come upon us. In mercy, save us from distress, for height and depth have been confused. O Good Shepherd, come tend your flock, for whose sake you endured the cross. Make peace for us in Church and world, that we may live a tranquil life. May we be yours, as is your will: Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost. From age to age, amen, amen. Nonetha d-Ba’utha b-hash-sha w-dim’e wib-nonetha, kqarukh illukh Mara tawa. hwy lan hakkym m-basmana d-mer-e hash-shan w’siqlih kewan. d-leban kene tad mar-dha-lukh ‘awlan ‘shin-leh wzid-lay gnahan. w-yama w-yawsha wkul biryatha zi’lay sh-ghish-lay ‘al by-sha-than.


bzaw-nan kmil-lah haya kthyw-ta dhartheh d-‘alma ‘illan mte-la.

ST. MARY HOLY APOSTOLIC CATHOLIC ASSYRIAN CHURCH OF THE EAST 4320 E. 14 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48092; (586) 825-0290 Rector: Fr. Benjamin Benjamin Mass Schedule: Sundays, 9 a.m. in Assyrian; noon in Assyrian and English

b-rah-mukh mkha-lis-lan m-balaye dim-bul-bil-lay rawma w-‘umqa.

ST. TOMA SYRIAC CATHOLIC CHURCH 25600 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48335; (248) 478-0835 Pastor: Fr. Toma Behnama Fr. Safaa Habash Mass Schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 6 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. All in Syriac, Arabic and English

wmat-wy l-kul-lan b-‘edta w-‘alma dkhay-ukh ‘umran bshe-na-yutha.

CHRIST THE KING SYRIAC CATHOLIC CHURCH 2300 John R, Troy, MI 48083; (248) 818-2886

Ra’ya Tawa, mar`y l-`irwukh mbeyd talibay hash-sha t`in-nukh.

w-hawukh diy-yukh mikh ‘ij-bonukh Baba wBrona wRuha d-Qudh-sha l-‘alam ‘almyn, amen w-amen.

obituaries A MINISTRY

Hanni Edu Yousif Kada Aug. 18, 1948 – Dec. 28, 2016 Hanni was a wellknown man. His presence and happiness would light up any room he would enter. If anyone knew him, they knew that Hanni put everyone before himself, in any given circumstance. He battled an illness for over 2 decades yet managed to

Laila Talia Jamil Nov. 15, 1937 – Dec. 29, 2016 Laila was the eldest child of the late Regina (Kinaia) and Najib Talia. She was loved by many dear aunts, uncles and cousins. She graduated from the University of Baghdad and worked as the executive assistant to the director of the Central Bank of Iraq.  Laila traveled throughout the Middle East and Europe with her friends. By all accounts, she was the apple of her father’s eye.  After his death, the Talia family immigrated to the U.S. where Laila met her husband, Najib Jamil. Laila and Najib were married in 1968, had 4 children and relished their summer road trips throughout the national parks.  Laila and Najib also enjoyed traveling and playing con-can with friends and family. They were together all the time and their banter brought smiles to everyone around them.  Laila was a very protective and loving mother and grandmother.  She enjoyed meet-

Aida Yousif Mansour April 17, 1938 - January 4, 2017 Aida Yousif Mansour, 78, was born on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1938. She passed on January 4, 2017. She is survived by her beloved husband of 61 years, Mansour E. Mansour, and was a loving mother to five children, Nuha Hayoo (Wil-

still be the hardworking man that he always was. He was a loving son for 2 amazing parents, Elias & Mary Kada, a selfless brother to Samir, Hashim, Samira, Khalid, Hana, and Adnan, an encouraging and wholehearted Father to 7 children, Wasan, Wally, Waseem, Sari, Wesam, Shems, and Jason, Grandfather to 10 beautiful Grandchilden, and last but not least, an incredible and enamored Husband to Faiza Kada. May he be in enteral life with Jesus and an angel because he was an angel on earth with nothing but a heart of gold ing new people and struck up conversations wherever she went. Laila was a huge Detroit Red Wings fan and loved watching hockey games with her late mother, her brothers and of course, Najib.  She loved her in-laws as her own family and welcomed many brothers-in-law, sisters-in-laws, and their children as they immigrated to the U.S.  Laila is survived by her most loving husband of 48 years, Najib; 4 children: Deyar (Dave Sperry), Soamer (Sahara Jabiro), Raneem (Rodney Karromi) and Sid (Faith Karmo); and 10 beautiful grandchildren:  Taylor, Anna, Luke, Jack, Chloe, Roman, Jude, Julia, Lourdes, and Blaise.   She was immensely proud of her family and would comment on how happy she was that all her children married wonderful people.  Laila also leaves behind 4 dear brothers:  Shawqi, Lutfi, Makram (Jane) and Moehanid; 2 sisters, including her sister and best friend, Fawzia Saigh (Nedeem); and many loving nieces and nephews.  Laila lived quietly and gently.  She touched people with her laughter, kindness and zest for life.  We will miss her the rest of our days and pray she rests in peace until our souls meet again. son), May Mansour, Nazar Mansour (Nadia), Nabeel Mansour, and Souha Maltese (Robert). Born in Beirut, Lebanon, she was married in October 1955 and moved to Baghdad, Iraq. Then in 1973, the entire family moved to Michigan. Aida had a heart of gold and welcomed all guests to her home with open arms and plates full of food. She was truly beautiful, inside and out, and had a sense of style that could rival the women on any red carpet. She radiated poise and elegance. Aida lit up any room she walked






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Subscribe to the Chaldean News at in to, was always smiling, and always having something nice to say to everyone. She would make everyone feel loved beyond measure and was unbelievably compassionate. Aida’s heart and generosity knew no bounds. Moreover, she was a woman of faith beyond all else. Always giving to charitable causes and continuously praying for her loved ones. She would always say “you get back in this life what you give.” Aida was devoted to her family and loved spending time with her children, grandchildren and great-grand-son.

She enjoyed traveling, shopping, concerts, and visiting with friends and relatives. She was the epitome of fun. Most of all, she felt whole when surrounded by her family. She always continued to bless our family with her patience, wisdom, and unconditional love. Aida will be missed by all that knew and loved her. She will forever live in our hearts and memories. Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. John 16:22.






Help Wanted! Please consider hiring one of our many new Americans. More than 30,000 Chaldean refugees have migrated to Michigan since 2007. Many possess the skills and determination to work hard for you and your organization. The Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF) has a bank of resumes of candidates qualified to do a variety of jobs. To inquire about hiring a New American, call or email Elias at 586-722-7253 or Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce and Chaldean Community Foundation 30850 Telegraph Road, Suite 200 Bingham Farms, MI 48025 248-996-8340

Chaldean Community Foundation Sterling Heights Office 3601 15 Mile Road Sterling Heights, MI 48310 586-722-7253




Ouké Allos Seman Oct. 10, 1936 Dec. 2, 2016

Hitham Yacoub Francis Abbo Oct. 18, 1981 Dec. 23, 2016 

Zouhair Ayoub Matty March 1, 1954 Jan. 12, 2017

Salim Paulos Petrus Dec. 10, 1932 Dec. 29, 2016

Fahmi Abid Elias June 7, 1941 Jan. 15, 2017

Sabah Hermez Hakim July 1, 1943 - Jan. 12, 2017

Nidhal Yousif June 12, 1973 Jan. 16, 2017

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the four seasons of weddings T

oday, there is no such thing as a wedding season. “It’s really all year round for our community, especially during these last three to four years,” said Lorraine Konja from Lorraine’s Event Planning/Coordinating. “Some couples do prefer certain months and seasons over others, but at the same time a lot of them are not picky, because they know they are so limited to dates.” Limited in the sense that halls get booked quickly, often with weddings and events scheduled a year in advance. With every season, there are pros and cons. “I always remind my couples that during the fall and winter season, it gets darker earlier so then they can have an option on when they want to take their outdoor pictures for that day,” said Konja. “Personally, I love when the groom sees his bride for first time at the church, walking down the aisle to him but a lot of couples are more concerned about the pictures for the day.” A Winter Blast When Chris and Vanessa Battah were planning their magical day, the first storm of the season was not part of the festivities. They married on December 11 last year. “Weather is the uncontrollable force of nature that has no empathy and can derail your dream wedding at least for a moment,” said Andy Keina, co-owner of Top that Table, wedding planners, designers and coordinators.  “If your wedding is held in a season that can face extreme weather conditions, it’s important to know what to do if weather impedes your wedding plans.  Worries about temperature, rain, snow - everything about weather adds to the general level of stress involved in such an event.  Winter weddings can be magical and romantic, but there are a few inevitable issues that go hand-in-hand with weddings held during the 20




The best time to get married

Vanessa Battah

darker months.” The Battahs faced one of those inevitable issues — a big snow storm — but Vanessa didn’t mind. She wanted a winter wedding. “I chose Christmas time because I think everyone is just so humble and happy during that time, even a blizzard couldn’t stop my happiness that day,” said Vanessa. “I think Christmas decor is so beautiful and warm.”

She also knew that she wanted to incorporate her Catholic faith in her wedding day. “The two of us couldn’t be one without Jesus,” said Vanessa. “What better way to celebrate our marriage then during the time our savior was born.” If a couple chooses winter, there are some things to keep in mind. “Invest in winter accessories; it will be cold, said Keina. “Accessories will be important to keep warm. You will need to plan for extra travel time.  Bad weather means bad traffic so give extra time for travel to your ceremony no matter how near or far you are going.” Having extra accessories and other clothing items is also important. “Don’t ruin your heels,” said Keina.  “Have a second wedding shoe for your outdoor pics because you don’t want mud or snow in your Jimmy Choo’s or Valentino’s. Indulge in Beauty Prep. Chapped lips and dry skin are inevitable with winter.  Keep your lips, hands, and face moisturized.”   A wedding is all about the timing. “It gets dark much earlier in the winter so adjust your photo schedule for more light,” noted Keina.  “Taking pictures before your ceremony is often a good option.” You can have a lot of fun with a winter blast. “Winter weddings tend to happen near or around the holidays.  You may want to embrace the season by incorporating holiday themed favors,” said Lawrence Yaldo, co-owner of Top that Table.  “Vanessa bought personalized ornaments for each family as their place card to hang on their Christmas tree.”  As much as flowers and décor create themes in a wedding, Vanessa said that “they weren’t important to me or Chris. That’s where the ornaments came in.” Vanessa tied the Christmas season into her wedding by handing out ornaments to each guest with their family names on them. “Although it was expensive, I knew I wanted everyone to go

ful Christmas tree. Chris knew how much I wanted to be married around Christmas time. He asked me to put on a set of headphones connected to his phone to watch a video he had made for his nieces birthday. Turned out to be a video with our wedding song and memories of us together. He then asked me to marry him at end. I was full of emotions. I had no clue! He even asked all of my brothers for my hand.” Springing into a Wedding Shannon and Nick Hannawa didn’t plan on a spring wedding, but it turned out to be the best decision for them. “Spring is one of Michigan’s most beautiful seasons in my opinion,” said Shannon. “May is a gorgeous month where the flowers are blooming and the weather isn’t hot, but just warm in a relaxing way with a slight calming breeze. Our guest weren’t fanning themselves, instead

the photographers who don’t have to deal with cold brides or sweaty cranky grooms,” she said. “I was also able to have more flexibility with my dress; it offered me the opportunity to pick a dress that was lighter and allowed me to have an open back, rather than having to plan for a colder evening.”  Prior to meeting Shannon, Nick attended law school with her brother. They eventually met and dated for three years. “Nick is always really good about planning something fun and unique for us to do,’ said Shannon. “He had planned for us to attend a wine tasting event which he claimed was going to be hosted by Hour Magazine, at a cute place in Royal Oak called Michigan By The Bottle. Hour magazine is one of Nick’s favorite publications and he enjoys local events so nothing seemed unusual to Shannon. “The scene at

The need to plan You got engaged and now there is so much to do. Perhaps you are debating whether or not to hire a wedding planner. We posed that question to LawrenceYaldo and Andy Keina from Top that Table and they gave us ten reasons why you need one. 1. Minimizing the stress and maximizing the fun. 2. Trouble shoots a variety of things that could go wrong: wardrobe malfunction, cake catastrophe, seating issues, etc. 3. Helps negotiate pricing and budget planning 4. Makes your vision turn into a reality


home with something to represent Christmas.” The snow was not a surprise as forecasters had been predicting several inches of snow to flow down throughout that day. “I woke up that morning praying and laughing with God that I knew this would happen to us, but to just keep everyone safe,” said Vanessa. “I accept whatever He gives me.” The only thing the snow did was delay the night because of the slippery roads. Only 15 people were a no show. “If you have a contingency plan, you won’t have to stress in the days leading up to the wedding,” said Keina. “Think of your guests: Will they have to walk along a snowy path to get to the ceremony or reception.  Be flexible with timing of the day in case there is a delay with guest arrival.” Although the snow put a damper on getting to the wedding, it didn’t cloud celebrations. “Chris and I were looking forward to traveling to St. Lucia in the 90-degree weather while all the Michiganders were freezing,” said Vanessa with a chuckle. “It’s just another fun reason to get married in the winter, an excuse to be in a warm climate for our anniversary each year.” Chris and Vanessa met about three years before they married, through mutual friends and family. They didn’t initially hit it off but eventually decided to date and then fell in love. Chris proposed about a year before they married. “I had no clue,” said Vanessa. “He had picked out my ring in early November of 2015 and took my parents out for lunch about a month before he proposed to ask for my parents blessing. After our parents met in November, Chris and I promised that we would spend each Sunday attending mass and then spend the rest of the day with both of our families. I mainly fell in love with him, because of his love for Christ. It was very important to me to find a man, who was faithful.” Chris always knew Vanessa wanted a Christmas wedding. “On the day he proposed, we started off at mass, and ironically both of our parents had plans that day. So we started the day with brunch at the same place we had our first date,” said Vanessa. “It was a very snowy day but he insisted on going to Campus Martius. We grabbed some coffee and started walking towards the beauti-

5. Helps organize all the details when planning a destination wedding. 6. Manages times by creating a schedule so that no time is wasted. 7. Acts as a mediator when dealing with family expectations, shows you the available options, and can be relied upon to give you expert advice so you make an informed decision. 8. Recommends solid, reputable vendors to serve every aspect of the wedding.  

Shannon and Nick Hannawa

they were taking in the beautiful Michigan day, dancing and enjoying the zeffa.” Nick pre-planned the date. “He wanted to beat the busy summer wedding season and he knew he wanted Shenandoah,” said Dalia Attisha, The Wedding Planner. Nick’s mom helped plan the day. “We had a wonderful zeffa at my inlaw’s home,” said Shannon. “We had more than hundred guests and because the weather was great, we were able to use the inside as well as the outside of the home, which was like a mini party before the reception. Shannon credits the spring season for her fabulous wedding day. “The weather made things easier for

the restaurant was what any person would expect at an event, framed issues of Hour displayed around the restaurant and other random guest posing with the magazine for a photographer, Shannon noted. “Little did I know at the time, the photographer was Angela Jaboro, she actually approached our table at one point and asked if we would mind being in some photos, of course Nick seemed thrilled about the possibility of being in the magazine and gladly posed for the camera.” Nick eventually asked the sommelier for Champagne. “As she set

9. Every bride and groom wants something “different” for their wedding, so they can design and create something memorable. 10. Brings knowledge and understanding. Planners have been in the industry for years and are experts in protocol, etiquette, and everything it takes to pull off an event of such magnitude.

WEDDINGS continued on page 22 FEBRUARY 2017



the bottle down, she said this is our special reserve and rotated the bottle,” explained Shannon. “At first glance, I read just my name, but then I saw more clearly that it was an engraved picture of a man on one knee and a women. I unknowingly read out loud, ‘Shannon will you marry.’ I couldn’t read any more, I was so surprised.” She began to cry while the photographer captured the moment. Nick’s sister took video and the restaurant erupted in cheers. “Even more of a surprise was the fact that Nick had hid this from my parents and only asked for their blessing moments before he proposed, while he claimed he was using the restroom. He really did an amazing job making all my dreams come true and I couldn’t be any happier looking back,” said Shannon. Their spring wedding was in the plans as Nick had picked the date ahead of time.   When planning a spring wedding or one in a particular season, there are certain things to keep in mind. “Always keep holidays in mind, and the calendar month,” said Atisha. “Spring time is during Lent, Easter and First Communion season, so it’s a very eventful time of the year for our church along with our community.” In the spring, there are some things you can do that you can’t other times of the year. “Some flowers are available during this season versus later in the year like Peonies,” said Atisha. “Finding a date at a highly desirable location during this time of year is more challenging due to so many other events. The weather is warmer so couples can take outdoor photos and have more flexibility with clothing. Many couples prefer to avoid the snow; snow storms that can be possible during the late fall and winter months.” Despite the time of year, there are many common mistakes couples make. “The biggest mistake is comparing your wedding to other couples and their weddings,” said Atisha. “Seeing photos on social media like Pinterest and Instagram while day dreaming about incorporating the idea/element into their wedding and then finding out they can’t afford it and possibly going over their budget to portray an image to their guests and sometimes put their fiancé’s in debt because they insist on having certain elements at their wedding.” Budgeting is key in all seasons, explains Atisha. “So often couples book vendors based on weddings they walked in, or their friend or cousin hired, without thinking their budget through and then realizing they can’t afford the venue or the photographer,” she said. “Couples really need to think of their future and not just live for the day. They have a full road ahead of them and if they don’t build a solid and stable financial foundation for their new journey, they will surely create problems in their future. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” A Summer Sensation Summer time is Melanie and Danny Shaman’s favorite season of the year. “I couldn’t imagine our wedding day without the sun, and considering Michigan’s unpredictable weather, we knew that 22



the summer would be the best season of the year to make our dream of a sunny wedding weather day coming true,” said Melanie. “Aside from summer being our favorite season of the year, a summer wedding worked best around my school schedule.” She is a full-time student studying physical therapy. “A summer wedding enabled us to have enough time to really enjoy our wedding and it was also a great time to go away on our honeymoon to Greece.” They were married on Sunday, July 3 last year on a holiday weekend. “I know that guests tend to leave Sunday weddings earlier because they have to wake up early for work the next day, but the great part about getting married the day before the

rate is discounted a bit during the off season. Proper attire in the summer must also be a serious consideration. “It is imperative that everyone is dressed appropriately for the ceremony, not only at a summer wedding, but year round,” said Kallabat. “With summer weddings, with the hotter temperatures, the bride and guests seem to pick ‘hotter’ selections. These dresses maybe absolutely stunning, but not exactly church appropriate.” The Chaldean Diocese requires that the bridal party and guests are covered properly for the church service. Kallabat reminds all her couples of this requirement. “Covering up for the ceremony doesn’t have to mean your bridal style is lost,” she said. “There’s a number of gorgeous pieces that can


WEDDINGS continued from page 20

Melanie and Danny Shaman

Fourth of July is that most guests did not have to worry about waking up for work,” Melanie noted. “Our guests were able to stay the entirety of our wedding and truly enjoy themselves as they partied the night away without worrying about an early wakeup the next day.” Traditionally, summer has been known to be the peak of the wedding season. “Although wedding season, especially in the Chaldean community, has expanded into earlier and later months throughout the past few years, summer still continues to be the busiest time of the year for Chaldean weddings,” said Suhair Kallabat of Eventfully Yours. “Couples who want to marry in the summer must book far in advance to get the date that they want, especially if what they want is a weekend. I have a lot of couples who are resorting to picking a weekday wedding date because it is all they can get during the summer season that they want.” Couples planning a summer wedding must also keep in mind that a summer wedding comes at premium. Summer couples pay the full price for their venue if marrying on the weekend, whereas that

be added to your dress that still maintain the style of the dress while showing reverence in church.” “I knew that I needed something that would be weather appropriate for a summer wedding,” said Melanie. “A significant part of our wedding day was spent outside taking pictures, and in designing my dress; I knew I wanted something that would work with the hot summer weather.” Melanie worked with a designer who created a lace, strapless ball gown. “The gown was whimsical and elegant, and I felt like royalty in it,” she said. Summer is ideal because of the weather. “Granted, we do live in Michigan, so even our summer weather can be inconsistent and unpredictable, but for the most part, summer is a couple’s best bet if they want a sunny and warm wedding day,” said Kallabat. It’s also ideal for guests with out of state guests. Traveling is easier. “Our décor was also inspired by the summer,” said Melanie. “We choose to mix lighter, summery colors in our flower color scheme. WEDDINGS continued on page 24

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We had a mix of whites, pinks, and greens combined with ivory sequenced linens and mahogany chairs for a fresh summer look.” Danny and Melanie met at a gathering thrown by one of our mutual friends. “One day, Danny suggested that we take a step back in time and be kids again for the night,” said Melanie. “We spent the evening channeling our inner child, playing our favorite childhood arcade games. It was a blast.” After playing a bunch of fun arcade games, they ended up in the photo booth. We made different funny faces in the few shots, and then Danny got on one knee and proposed. “I was completely and utterly shocked. I was filled with so much joy,” she said. “Once I was able to finally collect myself and accept Danny’s proposal with a YES, we walked out of the photo booth to yet another surprise – our family and close friends. Danny had arranged for them to be there for our proposal to surprise me and help celebrate with us.” The biggest challenge is often planning the actual wedding. Many couples like to incorporate interests and their own identities and for Melanie and Danny it was Game of Thrones. “We decide to incorporate elements of the show into our wedding in a cool way,” said Melanie. “Our seating charts were not the typical seating chart. Instead, we had two Game of Thrones seating charts that Suhair helped us to create.” The first seating chart, was titled “Brace Yourself, Marriage is Coming,” and under that it said “You Can Find Your Seat Here.” On each side, it listed the names and the house each belonged to: Danny House of Shaman for the groom, and Melanie House of Toma for the bride. The next board, closer to the reception entry way was identical, except that it was titled, “Brace Yourself, Marriage is Here.” “Guests LOVED our seating chart,” said Melanie. “It was one of the most snapped elements of our wedding.” They incorporated more Game of Thrones elements with life-size cherry blossom trees that sat atop the tables. The final Game of Thrones element was a string quartet that played during dinner. “The string quartet played music from the Game of Thrones soundtrack, beginning with the theme song, and it was a hit,” said Melanie. “Our guests loved their performance, and it added a special vibe to the evening.” Along with the planning, Kallabat said there is one key element no couple should forget. “Sometimes couples get so caught up in planning their wedding that they forget that even more importantly, they should be planning their marriage,” she said. “I like to refocus my couples when I sense that they’ve lost sight of the true meaning of their engagement. As important as planning a wedding is, it is of the utmost importance for couples to be preparing for the sacrament that they are about to receive.” Falling In Love When June Abro was planning a couple’s wedding in the fall, he knew they wanted that particular 24





time of the year. “They figured it wasn’t going to be too hot or too cold,” said June Abro of a June Event. “They had a perfect day.” They were looking for a Saturday in either September and October.  When they found the date they wanted, they booked it right away. “It ended up being Sweetest Day and they wanted for all of their loved ones to share in their ‘sweetest day’ with them,” said Abro.  Weather is not the only thing to keep in mind when planning a wedding, explained Abro. “Think about holidays and if guests have to travel and the wardrobe,” he said. “When planning a fall wedding, keep in mind daylight savings and that your clothes don’t clash with the time of the year. Certain wardrobes go with certain seasons.” The weather in the fall can be ideal as it was for this particular couple. “Amidst the weather changing, the colors are changing” said Abro. The elegance of the outdoor pictures were beautiful. It was a cool Autumn day for them.” As much as some couples love the fall season,

it doesn’t limit the wedding planner. “We feel that the season should not dictate what you want to do,” said Abro.  “It’s your wedding and you can have the wedding of your dreams no matter the month. The only thing that is crucial is the flowers that are in season. However, if you have no limits on your budget, you can have them any time of year for the right price.”  The season should not deter you from your dreams. “It’s your wedding; you can do whatever you want as long as its styled right,” said Abro.  “If you love fall colors but are getting married in spring, it can still be done as long as your ‘Color Story’ is done well and your wedding planner designs it just right.”  Regardless of the time of year, Abro encourages couples to stay calm. “A mistake is when couples tend to get stressed during the planning period,” he said.   “This is supposed to be a magical time - pick and have faith in your vendors that at the end of the day, they will throw you the wedding of your dreams!” 




before “i do” Learning how to find the right spouse BY KRIS HARRIS






aking the decision to enter into the Holy Sacrament of Marriage is one of those life-changing moments. However, finding or thinking you’ve found the right spouse, is sometimes the most difficult step to take. Even when you think you may have found him or her, there is a crucial element, sometimes overlooked or taken for granted —how well do you know your future spouse and are you certain he or she is the right person for you? Patrice Abona was nearly 30 years old when she married her husband Emil. “Life was good but you when you are not married at a certain age, you get a lot of pressure from the outside world,” Abona said. “Internally too; we all have a desire to be with someone.” Abona talked about finding the right spouse in an episode of the Mar Toma Productions Invitation to Sisterhood. During the same show, Fr. Pierre Konja, administrator at Mother of God Church in Southfield, reminded viewers that couples are not always in the sample place, in terms of their spirituality, which can raise some questions. “Is this somebody that’s closer to Christ or someone that can get me closer to Christ?” asked Fr. Pierre. “If not, is it someone that I can marry and would be good, but not super holy by praying the rosary every single night, but would challenge me to be a better person?” Finding the right spouse is not always easy, but keeping an open mind can help when looking for the right person. “You can meet a really great church-goer and faithful person, but he is really boring or he never wants to talk,” said Fr. Pierre. “But then you can meet someone who is really outgoing and you’re best of friends, but his faith isn’t as strong as you’d like it to be. So you can’t put things in boxes. You have to make decisions on your own, as far as whom I want to spend the rest of my life with and will this person lead me closer to God in the relationship.” Timing is everything. “Amil and I talk about if we had met three years earlier would we have been ready for each other,” said Abona. “Praying for the right spouse is good. I also learned that praying for him even when I didn’t know him was important.” “God’s time is not always our time,” chimed in May Seman, co-host of the episode. Being realistic and honest with yourself is also

Vallen and Selwan

important. “I always tell my kids that whatever your list is of what that person needs to have, you must have those things to,” said Seman. “Don’t have high expectation of someone but you lack those things yourself.” When couples feel they might be ready for marriage, Fr. Pierre believes it’s important that couples first have an open and honest relationship. “Usually, I meet with couples that are pretty close to marriage, within a year of the ceremony,” said Fr. Pierre. “By this time, you should know everything about this person. Baggage, dating history, family struggles, and what has formed him to the person he is today. The good, the bad and the ugly, so we can put it out there and they can know who each other really are, and still say, ‘I love you and I still want to be your spouse.’” Couples, who feel they are ready for marriage, need to keep in mind that just because you want to get married doesn’t mean that you automatically receive the church’s blessing. “There has been a few times where I’ve really put my pen down, while filling out the file and said, ‘I really suggest you don’t get married in the time frame you’re wanting

to,’” said Fr. Pierre. “They should be excited because they’re going to the church to make it official and legitimatize it, but they’re angry and upset and it made me wonder why they were there.” The church only wants to see healthy and happy relationships develop and grow over time, which is why they are there to help with the process. “We want couples to live happy, fruitful, Christ-centered lives, so we want to guide them to it,” Fr. Pierre explained. “Marriage has its struggles; it‘s reality and it needs to be looked at as real. When people just take a step back and realize what marriage is, and why is it important, I think the process can be more fluid.” Fr. Pierre reminds couples that marriage is more than just spending the rest of your life with someone else. “This is a vocation from God that’s been elevated to a Sacrament and that’s supposed to lead you closer to Him, to gain you salvation,” he said. “We want couples to have found a spouse that at least can help with that or is on the same page with that. When that is understood, it becomes much easier to enter into marriage.”


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you’re invited Finding the best wedding invitation BY VANESSA DENHA GARMO


he wedding invitation could be the first glimpse into what a couple’s wedding will be like. “The invitation can really set the tone of a wedding, so it should be something that reflects a couple’s taste, style and budget,” said Dalia Atisha, The Event Planner. “Once you design your invitation, guests may have an idea of the type of wedding you are planning,” said Yvonne Abbo, Yvonne’s Invitations, “whether it is classic elegance or classic contemporary for instance.” Budgeting for the invitation is important. “It’s very exciting planning a wedding and most couples will start a board on Pinterest ‘Wedding of My Dreams,’ said Abbo. “You need to first figure out the guest list and how many invites you might need. Divide your guest list by 2 and then add 25 percent to your list; you will get a more accurate head count.” Re-ordering invitations after an initial order can get pricey. “It is also important to remember postage price when choosing your invite,” said Abbo. “Also, make sure that you have a sample of how an invite is assembled and then go to the post office to figure out how much each one will cost to mail out.” Most couples gravitate towards timeless colors such as crème, white, gold and silver invitations. “However, there are some couples that really want to showcase their wedding style,” said Atisha. “If a couple is having a winter wedding, they can reflect their wedding style with a winter wonderland invitation.” “A snowflake is winter’s butterfly – a winter wonderland theme is so enchanting,” said Abbo. “There are many lavish colors that work in the winter. Winter white is also very popular for paper color and also for accent colors.” The spring and summer seasons inspire their own colorful theme. “If a couple is having a spring/summer wedding they can reflect their wedding style with a floral invitation or vibrant colored paper and ink colors,” said Atisha. “If we didn’t have winter, we couldn’t love our spring and summer season so much,” said Abbo. “Foil wedding invitations are very popular this year and can be used for any season. Vintage elegance is definitely present with pearls and laser-cut lace accenting the wording on the card.” For the fall, “a couple could reflect their wedding style with brunt orange, red and golden tones even somehow incorporating leaves,” said Atisha. “Couples can really bring out the seasonal theme of their wedding with embellishments such as gem stones, handmade flowers, and ribbons. They can also do embossed stamping for example of leaves and snowflakes — the possibilities are endless.” Many couples fall in love with the fall season. “Brides love the idea of a rustic theme with tree branches and burlap invitations,” said Abbo. “Use some rhinestones and bows to add an elegant touch.” Ordering the invitation is part of the wedding planning. “Create an excel sheet of your guest list,” said Abbo. “This will help keep you organized.” “A couple should allow at least four months before the wedding to order invitations to have enough time to get them and package them up to send out,” said Atisha. “Couples should be sure to proof their invitation and have a few other people read it to make sure it doesn’t need to be modified or have any mistakes.” Abbo also recommends working with a seasoned wedding planner. “They help with seating of guest for instance,” she said. “I recommend personalized cocktail napkins, as well; they offer a nice touch and can complement the invitation.” Like Abbo, Atisha loves to get crafty. “We do seating charts, place cards, entrance table set up/design, programs, menu cards, tables numbers, pretty much everything that is part of the wedding theme and décor,” said Atisha. 28







love sweet love Wedding desserts for every season of marriage BY MONIQUE MANSOUR


fter the question has been individual desserts to each guest rather popped and the wedthan a slice of wedding cake,” Elias ding planning begins, said. “Recently, at a fall wedding, another question soon arises: guests were treated to an individwhat type of sweets should a ual warm spiced caramel apple couple have at their wedbread pudding with a scoop of ding? Luckily, Michigan ice cream.” Another way of brides and grooms have a involving sweets in a wedplethora of options. ding is to create a dessert staWhether lovebirds are tion, such as a crepe station. looking for something more “Stations are a fun way to give traditional or something a bit difguests a dessert and an experience Chocolates by Renee ferent, there are pastry, donut, and at the same time,” said Elias. chocolate shops in Metro Detroit offer a personAt consultation meetings, Elias advises couples alized approach for each and every couple…no to come prepared. “Couples should have a general matter the wedding theme or season. idea or concept of what the cake theme or style Jonathan Elias of The Pastry Guru in Troy should be,” said Elias. “Bringing photos of the caters to creating decadent and delicious masdress, invitation, color swatches, and floral plans terpieces for couples on their special day. This are all great forms of inspiration when designis something he feels he was born to do. “When ing a couple’s dream cake.” According to Elias, people use to ask me what I wanted to be when a wedding theme is of utmost importance. “In my I grew up, I always said, ‘an artist’ and as I grew opinion, couples should try to express themselves older, I discovered my love for the culinary arts,” through their wedding. The wedding should be a explained Elias. “Then I realized I could pair my reflection of the love the couple has for one anlove of food with my artistic talent and turn it other.” into a career.” His work to personalize wedding sweets goes To learn more about Elias’ custom wedding creations, well beyond creating masterful cakes. “I can offer visit 30





f a couple is looking for wedding sweets with a flair that still matches the theme and season of their wedding, donuts may be just the dessert to turn to. Chris and Serena Denha of Donut Bar + Coffee in Southfield cater to making personalized gourmet donuts. “We have a huge arsenal of donuts that contain nothing but high-end ingredients,” said Chris. “From fresh fruit to chocolate ganache to homemade whipped cream, everything is of the finest quality.” Couples should note that donuts could make for a unique display at their wedding. “We’ve done donut towers, walls, customized letters, and even champagne spouts with chocolate milk to pair with donuts,” explained Chris. Something many couples mull over is how soon they should begin to think about their wedding sweets. “The more time we have to plan for the wedding the easier it makes our job,” said Chris. Though a donut is often synonymous with fall,


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Donut Bar + Coffee caters to weddings year-round. “Donuts are not seasonal,” Chris said. “They’re a good choice all year because we offer seasonal-flavored donuts. Michigan is known for its cherries in the summer and its apples in the winter, so we have different donuts for every time of year.” When it comes to taste testing, Chris stresses the importance of couples taking part in this early on. “We like for couples to assist us in choosing the donut flavors. If the bride likes chocolate, she gets chocolate. Happy wife, happy life.” For more information on Donut Bar + Coffee, visit


hocolates by Renee in Northville has been in business for more than 25 years. “We are a family business and care about the needs of our customers,” said owner Stephanie Acho. “We use only the finest, rich chocolate and we know just how important the big day is for a couple, so we’re always honored to be a part of it.” For couples with allergies, chocolate may be the ideal

choice. “We cater to couples with allergies, such as peanut, gluten, dairy, among others. We make a note to let the staff know, so that we can create delicious, personalized treats to their satisfaction,” said Acho. Chocolates by Renee has a wide variety of chocolates available that can be used as party favors or centerpieces. Couples can pick chocolates that may be similar to their theme, color scheme, or by what they feel exemplifies their relationship. “We even do chocolate logos with the bride’s and groom’s initials, as well as gourmet chocolate boxes tied with satin ribbon,” explained Acho. When it comes to matching the sweets with the theme or season of a wedding, Acho is the expert. “Our chocolate is seasonal, so what we may offer in the summer may not be present for a winter wedding,” said Acho. As the saying goes, love is sweet, and a couple’s wedding desserts could be the best way to reflect the feeling.

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memory lane Walking down memory lane with old photos. Many couples credit their longevity to sound advice they received in wedding classes. Some couples were married before classes were available, but still had marriages that followed the philosophies and lessons learned in today’s classes.  

Michael & Dora Abbo on October 23, 1966 in  San Diego, California.

George Saliba and Courjia Hanna Chammas on January 5, 1955 in Beirut, Lebanon.

Assad and Ibtisam Haddo on February 8th, 1987.

Salem Kanna and Madiha Kanna on September 11, 1970 in Baghdad, Iraq.

Frank & Mary Thomas on August 5, 1962 at Mother of God Church on Hamilton in Detroit.




couples’ classes Learning how to be married BY WEAM NAMOU


ore than four hundred Chaldean weddings are performed each year. Marriage is honored and affirmed among Christians and throughout the Bible. However, while most Christians seek to uphold the seriousness of wedding vows, the great changes in traditional roles of men and women along with the increase and acceptance of divorce in Western culture, has made it difficult for some couples to save their marriage. In order to help new couples start off in the right direction, the church has, for more than a decade, offered pre-marriage classes. It was about two years ago when the classes at Mother of God Church were changed to suit the needs of a new generation and current circumstances. “My husband and I attended the old program and that was really the motivation for us wanting to change the program,” said Kristen Ayar, who along with others was involved in this process. “It wasn’t what it should or could be for our community. The new classes are more practical.” Ayar and her husband Arvin, married for 4 ½ years, are presenters at the new classes which are taught by couples and were developed through research and surveys. The classes incorporate six topics over a six hour period. The topics include: Roles and Backgrounds, which

raises questions such as who are you as an individual and what is your background? What do you expect of the roles of a husband, wife, and parent? “Here, we talk about our parents’ different relationships and how that shaped and molded us,” said Ayar. “Your background is carried into your relationship.”

We talk about our parents’ different relationships and how that shaped and molded us.” – KRISTEN AYAR Communication, which teaches how to communicate effectively with your spouse and resolve conflicts in a calm and loving way. “Conflict is inevitable in a marriage,” said Fr. Pierre Konja, administrator for Mother of God. “But how you solve it is crucial to healing and forming a strong marriage.” Finances, which is taught by a couple who have seven kids and who give advice through example as they share their own life experience in dealing with money and children and the role that God, mercy, and love plays in this area of their life. Intimacy, sex, and family planning.

“This topic is especially important in a sexually broken world where promiscuity and pornography are glorified,” said Fr. Pierre. Other topics that are covered include abuse and in-laws and, oftentimes, the topics overlap. However, a class or program alone will not safeguard a healthy marriage, because there is no perfect program that exists anywhere. Ultimately, it’s the couple’s desire that will make or break their wedding vows. “Couples have to have the desire to be sacrificial and reflect the love of God in their marriage, to be strong through difficulties and wise and mature about whom to enter marriage with,” said Fr. Pierre. Since marriage and family is the foundation of the church, of Christianity, efforts have also been made to strengthen already married couples. The Eastern Catholic Re-Evangelization Center (ECRC) provides a marriage program called The Choice Wine: 7 Steps to a Superabundant Marriage. Whether a couple is engaged or has been married for 50 years, this 9-weeks program is intended to teach couples how to “divorce-proof their marriages.” Steve Bollman, founder of this program, is a Catholic minister. With an educational background in Chemical Engineering, he integrates teachings of faith with the findings of modern science. The program’s sev-

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en simple steps, he says, will “Stretch your mind through science. It will test your faith, and it will challenge you to live your high calling.” Ayar and her husband also participate in The Choice Wine program and she says that this has strengthened their marriage. “It was like date-night with my husband and other couples who want their relationships to grow with God and each other,” she said. This program has been held at Mother of God Church and St. Thomas Church, but ECRC is trying to make it available to other parishes so everyone can enjoy it. A couple’s retreat, which ECRC hosted previously at Camp Chaldean, is something they plan to repeat in the near future. “Couples retreats are not to fix anything necessarily, but to strengthen a couple’s relationship,” said Fr. Pierre. There are pre-marriage classes that are required by the Diocese to attend before a couple marries and there are other marriage classes available, but not obligatory. While the marriage classes are highly encouraged by the community, and there is a strong desire for them, Fr. Pierre says that realistically most people are too busy to commit to them. “We get caught up with finances and the kids and the marriage itself becomes taken for granted,” he said. “Be intentional about your marriage. Go out on date nights once a week, on a vacation by yourself. Seek marriage counseling even if your marriage is fine – do it just to make your marriage better. Marriage is work. Anything worth having is difficult.” The message that Steve Bollman tells people is that “Jesus does not want your marriage to be enough. He wants it to be superabundant.”



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chaldean on the STREET

How did you overcome the thing that went wrong on your wedding day? BY HALEM SHEENA

February is the time we shine the spotlight on Weddings. Couples shared their stories on how they dealt with the unexpected on their special day.

Brigit Samona, 32, Commerce: Just hours before my wedding, I was zipping my dress and the zipper popped right off into my hand. I would’ve freaked out, but luckily for me, my amazingly talented Maid of Honor/Sister put her talent of sewing to good use, and sewed my dress shut. Luckily for me, the rest of the night went smoothly and my dress stayed together!

Martina Konja, 27, West Bloomfield: I walked into the reception hall and everything looked amazing. However, something was off. We had wanted a floating glass with flowers under the cake, but this addition was nowhere to be found. I was so upbeat and happy about the day, that I just went on with the night because I knew we’d be the only ones that knew it was missing. Your guest have no idea what your vision was, they just see what is done. All and all, everything looked great!

Summer Yaldo Nagarah, 32, Troy: You want everything to be perfect on one of the most important days of your life; however, there are things you just can’t control. Nothing major went wrong on our wedding day, but we had a few complications with running late and forgetting a few minor things at home. My butterfly releasing did not go as planned. I’ve been in many weddings and coordinated plenty, so to every bride and groom I will say, enjoy the day and don’t stress the small things because it’s about the love that you two are sharing and celebrating with one another and everyone that is attending.

Shavon Manni, 36, Troy: I walked into our hall and realized that the cake on the table was one that I had never seen before. I may have been frustrated at that moment, but after looking over at my new husband and all our loved ones, it was in that moment I realized it is not worth sweating the small stuff. Not one person in that room was going to remember my cake, nor did they even notice it.

Rita Zoma, 28, West Bloomfield: In the moment I did get disappointed, because I had high expectations after so many months of planning. But, I got over it because I realized it was so minor compared to the bigger picture which was that I just married my best friend and we were starting a new exciting chapter in our lives. The small issues don’t matter anymore. 

Robert Semaan, 31, Sterling Heights: There wasn’t one specific thing that went wrong, but the stress and anticipation makes you feel like everything is going wrong. I kept thinking that these small things did not matter and just went into the day with an open mind. In the end, it was all in my head and everything went great!




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naturally planning Catholic Church’s Teachings on NFP BY PAUL NATINSKY


atural Family Planning (NFP) is not what it used to be and for many, that is a good thing. Gone are the low success rates of the “rhythm method” and the guessing game couples played when trying to naturally control the growth of their families. “The rhythm method is a very old method and I would frown at anybody teaching it today, because it’s not very effective,” said Fanar Kashat, who has been teaching NFP for 14 years. “I joke when I teach my classes that I am a product of the rhythm method. It’s not very effective; it’s about 70-80 percent.” Kashat currently teaches premarital couples classes at Mother of God Chaldean Catholic Church in Southfield. “Newer methods rely on women charting biological indicators daily and have success rates close to 100 percent,” she said. The two most popular charting methods include the Billings Ovulation Method and the Symptothermal Method. In both cases, the key indicator is cervical mucus. Women learn to monitor the consistency and color of the mucus to distinguish fertile days in their cycles from those that are not. “If someone wants to have more than one data point, they may like the Symptothermal Method more. If somebody says well, ‘I don’t want to take my temperature every morning, I want something that’s simple,’ they might like the Billings method more,” said Kashat. The Symptothermal Method requires daily body temperature checks and factors in a number of other indicators including cervical position, mid-cycle cramping and mood, according to the Christian Family Planning website. “If you don’t look at the cervical mucus, you can throw any method out the window,” said Kashat. Indeed, just using temperature without looking at cervical mucus brings the success rate down from the high 90s to 70 or 80 percent, according the same website. 38



While there are health advantages to refraining from hormone-based birth control pills and surgical procedures, for Catholic couples the main appeal of NFP is that it is consistent with the church’s teachings. “In the ‘60s, there was a church document published by Pope Paul VI, called Humanae Vitae. The document laid out the church’s teachings on life issues and contraceptives,” said Fr. Pierre Konja of Mother of God Church. “It was very prophetic in its teachings against contracep-

Chaldean Catholic Church in West Bloomfield for the past year. “I feel sometimes these couples find this to be intrusive. When we present these classes, we tell them from the medical aspect what we’re there to teach them. I also try to help them from the moral aspect why our faith wants us to follow natural family planning.” A major concern among couples is the effectiveness of NFP. “You had these methods like the rhythm method that are out there and are natural, but are not effective,” said Kashat.

community it’s, taboo to talk about sex and issues related to sex.” Those involved in teaching NFP agree that there is a fine line between acceptable uses of NFP, and using the technique as a de facto form of birth control. Financial hardship, medical considerations and even finishing graduate school were cited as possible legitimate reasons to delay family growth. It seems the motive for using NFP is at least as subject to forethought as employing it. In many cases, teachers and priests challenge parishioners to consider their decision prayerfully and ensure that they are not putting off having more children for selfish reasons. “The majority of practicing Catholics disagree with the church on this teaching,” said Fr. Pierre. “They either disagree with it verbally or they disagree with it in practice.” He continued to say that he

The church is consistently against contraceptive use of any sort. These are viewed as interruptive methods. These include, oral contraceptives, hormonal IVs, condoms, vasectomies, tied tubes, and other things of that sort that are directly against, “openness to life.” – FR. PIERRE KONJA

tives and the church has been under criticism since then.” The church is consistently against contraceptive use of any sort. These are viewed as interruptive methods. These include, oral contraceptives, hormonal IVs, condoms, vasectomies, tied tubes, and other things of that sort that are directly against, “openness to life,” said Fr. Pierre. “The procreative aspect of sex is not divorced from the unity aspect,” said Fr. Matthew Zetouna of St. George Chaldean Catholic Church in Shelby Township. “What I mean by that is sex is supposed to have two elements always present: a unitive element, bringing two together in love and freedom; and then also it is, by nature, procreative. So, to divorce one of those factors from the nature of sex is to not give the act itself it’s sacred due.” For priests and teachers, working with young couples on this topic, it can be challenging and refreshing. “It’s not an easy topic to teach,” said Dr. Silvana Younan, an internist who has been teaching NFP at St. Thomas

“So, it jades the reputation for NFP.” The other concern is the work involved. “We live in an instant gratification society,” said Kashat. “NFP is work. You don’t just take a pill, or put a condom on and move on with your life. It takes work to take the class, to learn how to chart, and to be disciplined at following it.” Fr. Pierre added that, “the Western world is very much accustomed to have a selfish lifestyle, one, maybe two children maximum and then you get so overburdened with stress. People from big families learn to sacrifice, how to love, and that the world doesn’t revolve around them. They are better parents because of some of these qualities.” However, Fr. Matthew reports that couples are more enthusiastic about NFP. “There are a lot of Catholics, especially Chaldeans, nowadays that are hearing about NFP and they are saying to themselves, okay, this is what the church says, I’m going to do it,” he said. “They are very comfortable talking about it, and I’m happy about that because in the Chaldean

would challenge his parishioners to understand that church teachings are supportive of their happiness and reflective of their relationship with God and not arbitrary or archaic. Classes are generally available at Catholic churches, though they vary in length, content, and whether they are a required part of a pre-marital curriculum.

Online resources on natural family planning include: a website centered on the Billings Ovulation Method a website containing detailed information on the Symptothermal Method “Green Sex” a presentation by Jason Evert on the virtues of NFP



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he stock market adjusts itself after big waves of high and low. Football coaches adjust their play calling at halftime. Interest rates adjust to economic indicators and money supply. Standardized tests are revised to manage competitive levels amongst students. What happens when you don’t make adjustments? Either you remain mediocre, or you start to get a bubble. Mediocrity breeds contempt and bubbles burst. Beginning with the inaugural address of President Donald Trump, we are in an adjustment phase. Trump has revised American lexicon and the political paradigm. But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now. – President Trump’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 2017 This description of America will sound foreign to many. But Trump was not talking to me or most of you reading this article right now. As Nolan Finley aptly pointed out in his Detroit News column, “Trump delivered an inauguration speech to the bars, barns and bowling alleys of America…” Nor was he talking to political insiders, establishment bureaucrats, liberal elites or traditional

conservatives. On the contrary, those groups were his foils. His speech was devoid of all the pleasantries, courtesies and sweeping oratory that these groups have come to expect. He only briefly acknowledged the four past presidents in his company. He did not pay respect to the ailing George H. W. Bush who was not there. He did not seek a unity moment by embracing Hillary Clinton, or even shaking her hand. He did not seize the historic opportunity to gather the former presidents together for tea or lunch at the White House. That is not Donald Trump. He doesn’t serve up pageantry. He serves up red meat to red meat eaters. Herein lies the adjustment, the shift. The bubble has burst on Obamacare, the Dodd/Frank legislation, illegal immigration and free trade. Out are the LBGT movement, Planned Parenthood and Black Lives Matter. In are the National Rifle Association, the American worker and conservative federal judges. Out are the political and media elite. In are the American people. Trump did not use his inaugural address to pivot to normalcy. He used it to shake the establishment. In that regard, the speech was as radical as it was ungracious. In his farewell speech to the nation, Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the Military Industrial Complex. Trump’s election was not a response to that. This complex has been contained, even if barely. Trump’s election was a response to the political establishment/media-elite/Wall Street axis that has come to represent American power and privilege. This is the biggest bubble out there and Trump seems determined to bust it. And that is exactly what those in the “bars, barns and bowling alleys of American” are looking for.

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ECONOMICS and enterprise

Something borrowed, something blue, something bling BY LISA CIPRIANO


s the old tradition goes, a bride will need something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue as she walks down the aisle on her big day. Now, thanks to one crafty entrepreneur, a bride can have something bling that includes all of these things and more. Rita’s Bejeweled Bridal Bouquets are also something forever. They are beautiful, blinged-out bridal bouquets that are customized by and for the bride and can be adored as a forever reminder of that special day. Any newlywed bride knows the sad feeling when her once beautiful bridal bouquet of fresh flowers wilts away only to be eventually tossed in the trash or pressed as a brown memory of its former glory. Rita Salem-Pappadakis from Farmington Hills offers brides a forever alternative — a big bridal bouquet that can include family keepsakes and can be handed down for generations. “I can create anything the bride can dream-up from simple and elegant, to completely blinged-out or something in between,” she said. “I use an array of different materials, all types of flowers, silk, satin fabric, drapery pieces or anything else the bride might have in mind,” added Salem-Pappadakis. The bouquets are customized right down to their handles and they stay exactly the way they were on the couple’s special day. The idea for Rita’s Bejeweled Bridal Bouquets was conceived when Salem-Pappadakis’ cousin asked for help choosing her bridal bouquets and centerpieces. “We were looking at fresh flower bouquets to order online and I realized that can I make these for her,” said Salem-Pappadakis. Her cousin gave her the job and she immediately went to work creating her bouquet, her bridesmaid’s bouquets and the bridal table centerpiece with fresh flowers. “They were gorgeous. She absolutely loved them and so did everyone else,” SalemPappadakis added. Those online searches for ideas got her creative juices flowing and gave Salem-Pappadakis more inspiration for future projects that were a little bit different than traditional fresh flower bouquets and centerpieces. “As I was searching for designs 42



1. Rita Salem-Pappadakis holding one of her pieces 2. A bejeweled bouquet 3. Embellished pieces 4. A bejeweled bouquet

to make her bouquet, I was coming across all of these other ideas that were bejeweled bouquets,” she said. Ideas for those blinged-out bouquet creations that she saw online, danced around in her head for months. “I kept thinking about them, day after day, until I finally said to myself that I can do this.” SalemPappadakis added. So in February of 2016, she decided to order lots of brooches, headpieces, draping necklaces (anything that sparkled) and all of the other items needed to make a bouquet such as fabric, flowers, foam balls, handles, ribbon and off she went. “It was a lot of fun learning to make them and each piece turned out better than the first,” continued Salem-Pappadakis.  And, as they say, the rest is history. She now creates her blingedout, beautiful, one-of-a-kind, bridal works of art for brides at a dedicated workspace in her home. She’s already done three weddings in less than one year with at least one more on the horizon. Salem-Pappadakis is always looking for items to make her wedding

creations even more unique. “I love to look for older pieces and antique pieces,” she explained. “Whatever catches my eye. I look everywhere.” Rita’s Bejeweled Bridal Bouquets can include anything the bride wants such as a grandmother’s antique broach, the promise ring that came before the engagement ring or that something special made especially for the bride by her groom to be. She can add a family rosary, a special photo or even an engraved piece with the couple’s wedding date and their names on it. “Whatever the bride has in mind, I can certainly incorporate it with the piece,” Salem-Pappadakis said. The cost of Rita’s Bridal Bouquets can be just as customized as the bouquets themselves. They start in the $250 to $300 range, but the sky’s the

limit depending on how elaborate the bride wants the piece. “It all depends on the material, how fully loaded they want it, how big they want it and the type of handle they choose,” she explained. “It totally varies.” Salem-Pappadakis also makes coordinating groom’s and groomsmen’s corsages, bridesmaid’s bouquets, mothers and fathers of the bride and groom corsages and the even the table centerpieces just as eye-catching and unique as the bride’s customized, forever bouquet. More information on Rita’s Bejeweled Bridal Bouquets can be found at: RitasBejeweledBridalBouquets RitasBejeweledBridalBouquet/


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Chaldean News February 2017  
Chaldean News February 2017