On the Feast of St. Thomas, the Apostle, Patron of the Chaldean Church
H.B. Patriarch Louis Raphael Card. Sako
As the Chaldean Church is preparing to celebrate the Feast day of its’ patron, Saint Thomas the Apostle, on the 3rd of July, I would like to congratulate our daughters and sons on this occasion, wherever they are, and to let them know that I am keeping them in my prayers.
Once Thomas joined the congregation “the Church” in the cenacle, on the eighth day, he saw Jesus differently, saw him “from inside”, and in a spontaneous act, he knelt down in front of him, and openly declared his faith by saying: “My Lord and my God” (John 20/28). It’s a shocking testimony. This profound and sentimental profession is the faith of bishops, priests, monks, nuns, and laity of the Chaldean Church, leads us to follow Jesus Christ courageously, and to serve those in need with joy. This faith expresses at the same time the importance of being part of the Church and is what St. Thomas did.
Hence, I am kneeling down, now before Jesus Christ, like Thomas, renewing my faith attentively and consciously, with absolute trust saying: “My Lord and my God”. I invite you all to do so.
Such conscious and profound faith is a great power that sows hope in our hearts despite the tiredness, firms our confidence, our path and our service. Also, to overcome the difficulties and challenges initiated by the attempts of the “forces of evil” to confuse and divide through social media away from any sense of conscience. However, they should realize that freedom of expression does not allow them to insult people! “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12/ 36).
These “storms” will not prevent me from continuing my mission and my service with full determination and impartiality. Experience has taught me patience, perseverance, and that no body but God is the examiner of hearts Who sees and rewards. At the same time, I am pleased to thank and appreciation all the noble pens that stood by the truth and defended it.
The Gospel offers us an opportunity for personal and collegial transformation, for the sake of the Church community, that is, to be closer to Jesus Christ; faithful to His teachings; be united and to serve those in need. Hence, He will grant us wisdom to make the necessary reforms and preserve the authenticity of our 2,000-year-old tradition.
Our Chaldean Church will remain a living and unified body, despite the diversity of our talents, tasks, responsibilities, cutltures, and the differences in points of view. It will remain a leading Church in its mission and service because it carries in its body the passion of Jesus Christ through persecution and martyrs. Overall, the Chaldean Church will remain the voice of our citizens in their difficult circumstances, especially those who are still living in their homeland, proud of their history and identity. Therefore, we need to join hands and unite efforts with everyone in these harsh conditions, to improve their living conditions, rights, representation, security and stability.
Here, I would like to address a thankful and gratitude message to all those who have loving hearts and generous hands, who reached out to help their brothers during both displacement and the reconstruction of Nineveh Plain towns upon their return as well as during the Corona Virus Pandemic.
I urge all Chaldeans on this occasion, to support the “Chaldean League, CL” that was established five years ago, on this particular day. It has come a long way despite the crises and challenges, heading to a longer way to go. Consequently, every sincere Chaldean must cooperate and support morally and financially so as to help in performing its human, social and cultural mission. I believe, it is the duty of everyone to even make sacrifices and concessions for the common good.
A member who believes in the principles of the Chaldean League and its goal is more than welcome to stay and bear a wholeheartedly responsibility. On the other hand, whoever believes that CL does not realize his ambitions can leave quietly, because we won’t allow the use this membership for personal purposes. This should be clarified in the upcoming conference.
“Chaldean is not a sect” and there is no such “doctrine” in the world, just as there is no Armenian doctrine etc. this is nonsense! The Chaldean doctrine is Catholic and its national identity is Chaldean. At the moment, the most important thing for Chaldeans is to be positive and look forward to a bright future and for those settled in western countries they have a responsibility of lending a helping hand to their brothers in Iraq, where healthcare and living expenses are their major worries.
Finally, as you may expect and due to Corona restrictions, the Synod won’t be held this year in August but rather by the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021.
May the prayers of Saint Thomas the Apostle and his intercession be with us all