Highlights on H.E. Bawai Soro’s Speech at his Installation as a Bishop for the Chaldean Diocese in Canada
Wednesday; November 29, 2017; Toronto, Canada
Fr. Noel Farman
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
“Here I am, Lord”. I am pleased to repeat these words in your presence in the spirit of gratitude – the words uttered by the Prophet Samuel in response to the Lord's call.
I repeat them in response to the call of His Beatitude, Mar Louis Raphael Sako, the Chaldean Patriarch and the members of the Holy Chaldean Synod who elected me as the third Bishop for the Diocese of Mar Addai of the Chaldeans in Toronto. Through them I say to the clergy and believers, young and old, and from all walks of life, “Here I am, at your service”.
I say, “Here I am”, to the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, represented by His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins, for a future and common fraternal service, and through His Eminence, for an active cooperation and participation in the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
I say, “Here I am”, to His Holiness Pope Francis, represented here today by the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, His Excellency Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi. I say, “Here I am Holy Father, in the unconditional service of the universal Church, and its Mission of promoting the Gospel of Christ to all nations at all the times. Here I am, for the Church of Christ so that she continues be the Church for all: a church for the poor, the marginalized, and the persecuted; a church that fosters fraternal relations with the Eastern & Oriental Orthodox, and the Church of the East, and a church that respects the preaching and dignity of the ecclesial communities, and the conscience of other religions and cultures, on the basis of the common good and towards a better world of justice, tolerance, and coexistence”.
I have come with the help of the Lord to complete the efforts of my two predecessor bishops, who were self-giving and loving in dealing with the people, young and old: the late Bishop Hanna Zora, who came with so much goodness and simplicity and left richness in the souls of his parishioners. I have also the intention of continuing to build on what H.E. Emmanuel Shalita, your former bishop and is leading presently Saint Peter’s Diocese in San Diego, to establish pastoral, administrative, and liturgical foundations for this Diocese..
I have also come to Toronto to fulfill a dream, that the Diocese of Mar Addai may one day soon join hands with her Sister Dioceses, Saint Thomas and Saint Peter in United States, in matters related to the training of seminarians and promoting of cultural and educational ties among Chaldeans. When Chaldeans in North America are united & strong, Toronto, Detroit & San Diego become three pillars upon which the Chaldean Patriarchate shall further shine in its ongoing efforts to aid the suffering Church in Iraq & Syria, to lobby for their human and natural rights, and similarly to strengthen the bonds of unity among all Chaldeans in the world, by promoting the project of the Chaldean League everywhere.
My hope and wish are that this Diocese will build strong working relations with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. True, we are Chaldeans and Assyrians, but we are also Catholic Canadians. We feel we have a duty, religious and civic, to fulfill to Canada and its people and contribute to building a better society and country.
On this occasion, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Lord for the blessing of this spiritual wedding crowned with the presence of our Patriarch, the Cardinal of Toronto, the Papal Nuncio, the Chaldean, Latin and Oriental and Assyrian Bishops, so many brother-priests from the various diocese and orders, as well as the Canadian dignitary presence. I hope that everyone will make sure that Mar Addai Diocese, represented here today by its priests and believers, will continue be a place of ecumenism, prayer, and cooperation.
Thus, I thank the Lord for my family and for my native Church of the East, which introduced me to Christian values and taught me charity and prayer. I am thankful for everything and for everyone who accompanied my Christian, priestly, and ecumenical pilgrimage to the Chaldean Catholic Church. I am thankful to Mar Addai Diocese, in particular, to by brother Bishop Francis Kalabat and the Vicar General, Fr. Niaz Toma, to Fr. Dhyeaa Shamas and to the many wonderful volunteers who planned and prepared for this Patriarchal pastoral visit and Episcopal Installation.
I would like to express my deep feelings of love and gratitude to our guests from Michigan who honored us with their presence. We shall be seeing you more often, God willing. The same goes for the clergy and faithful of Mar Addai Diocese who arrived all the way from Montreal to Vancouver. Last but not least, I express the same to Bishop Emmanuel and Bishop Sarhad Jammo, along with tens of the faithful and clergy who have taken the efforts to fly to Toronto especially for this event. Thank you my friends. Please accept my most profound gratitude for allowing me to spend almost one decade among you, where I experienced so much love and caring from you. Your names shall remain engraved in my heart and your memory in my soul. This day is only a ripe fruit of all that I received from you. So now I find myself ready to give back to the Church in Canada due to the call of His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphael Sako and the Chaldean Bishops. I can only say in the end that I will respond to the Lord in the person of my brothers and sister hereof Mar Addai Diocese, by saying with the Prophet Samuel, “Here I am, Lord”.