A clergy meeting for the Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Saint Peter the Apostle was called upon, and presided over, by His Excellency, Bishop Shlemon Warduni, the Apostolic Administrator, on Wednesday, October 19, 2016. Present there also were His Excellency, Bishop Bawai Soro, Vicar General, and 11 more pastors, parochial vicars, administrators and visitor priests of the Diocese.
At 10:00 am, before the start of the meeting, the bishops and priests adored the Blessed Sacrament at the Cathedral and prayed for a prosperous meeting. Then they proceeded to the Educational Center for the clergy meeting.
Bishop Warduni opening remarks: (i) He invoked the Spirit of God to guide everyone to say and do what is in accordance with God’s will. (ii) He encouraged the participants to be bound with each other in unity and charity. (iii) He reminded everyone that the first duty of a cleric is to be close to the Lord through a prayerful life, which is the ultimate spiritual weapon to stay within the Truth that the Gospel and the Church teach.
Then, the following points were discussed as part of the agenda, which was prepared in advance by the Diocesan Curia:
1) Bishop Warduni updated the clergy about a few decisions that the recent Chaldean Synod, which was held in Ankawa in September 2016, has adopted. In particular, he stated that, after the Synod has nominated three candidates to Rome, the Diocese was now awaiting the appointment of a new Diocesan Bishop by the Holy See.
2) All the clergy present at this meeting emphasized their solidarity with Bishop Warduni and pledged their continued support for Saint Peter Diocese, as an integral part, and under the guidance of, the Chaldean Patriarchate, in communion with the Holy See.
3) According to the canons of the Church and the norms of the IRS that govern religious nonprofit corporations, a Diocesan Finance Committee has been established to institute rules and internal control policies in each parish and in the Diocese altogether to further ensure financial accountability, which essentially will safeguard church assets and guarantees transparency and accountability by all that are involved. The main point that was emphasized is “all monies given to the church should be accounted for by being deposited through church bank account(s)”.
4) A new Media Committee was established in order to: (i) make sure that all websites, TV broadcasts and other means of publications are continuously up and running, and (ii) make sure that what is published or broadcasted on these mediums is purely religious and positively contributing to the building up of the Body of Christ.
5) The 2017 annual liturgical calendar of the Diocese shall be printed with contents largely consistent with those of the Chaldean Patriarchate and others Chaldean Dioceses, in order to emphasize the elements of unity and solidarity of Saint Peter Diocese with the rest of the Chaldean Church. Feast days, social events and national occasions that are particular to Saint Peter Diocese will also be included in the 2017 calendar.
6) Bishop Warduni also informed the clergy of his July 2016 decision to relocate the residence of the monks at Mar Abba the Great Seminary, the results of which have been very positive and well received by both the seminarians and the monks. Similarly, this step was also welcomed by the clergy at this meeting.
7) A tribunal subcommittee of two priests was established to continue the work on marriage annulment cases that have been presented to the Diocese.
8) It was agreed by the participants that Monday, October 24, 2016 would be announced in all churches of the Diocese as "a day for praying and fasting" for the sake of peace, safety and security in Iraq, so that the ongoing war will come to a rapid end.
The meeting ended at 1:00 pm and was followed by a lunch reception at Saint Peter's Church Hall.