It’s a true milestone in our church to have witnessed how our Chaldean community has changed since the establishment of the seminary of Mar Abba the Great. Six years ago, his Excellency Mar Sarhad Y. Jammo, on his sixth anniversary as bishop of St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Diocese, opened the first Chaldean Seminary outside of Iraq.
I have been serving the St. Peter parish as early as an altar server and I continue to serve today as sub-deacon. In all of my years of serving, I have finally understood the impact a seminary could have towards our church. Looking back at the Diocese before the establishment of the seminary, it seems like something was definitely missing; whether it was church school, church events, or even discernment.
Our lives were truly impacted in the most positive ways with the establishment of the seminary. There is the rector, Fr. Andy Younan, and eight young seminarians; each of them leaves their mark in the community. Every seminarian has their own specialty and I have noticed that the Bishop utilizes each one to bring about their maximum.
I am so happy and grateful that I have gotten so close with one of the eight seminarians, David Stephen. He will be getting ordained a Deacon this year and a Priest next year God willing. I met David Stephen five years ago when he moved down here from Sacramento to join our Chaldean seminary. We quickly had many things in common and I am so glad that he and I built such a strong friendship with each other. He is someone I can call a brother and someone I can always go to for advice. David has become family, my parents consider him a second son. Being so close to a seminarian definitely has made a positive impact in my life. Till this day we remain very close friends and I hope that we continue to keep our friendship strong.
A dramatic and positive change was brought to our church with the help of our seminarians. Vocations were found, money was raised, and I can keep the list going. The most important factor that our seminary has left is the gathering of the youth. Nothing has made me more extremely happy than seeing the youth grow week by week. Our youth are our future, and that is what our amazing seminarians quickly realized.
In addition their example has shaped the community in a special way. They have helped many guys truly find their vocation whether it may be the priesthood or marriage. Our seminarians have truly been a blessing in my life and I’m sure in many others. The result of getting so close to some of the seminarians has sincerely helped me discover my own vocation. My God bless the Seminary of Mar Abba the Great forever and always pray for their holiness.