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           Nov 17 , 2010



St. Mary’s Assyrian - Chaldean Catholic Church in San Jose, Ca
Special Commemoration and Candlelight Prayer Vigil in Honor and Remembrance of the Martyrs


 By Anthony Garia

On Sunday, November 14, 2010, St. Mary’s Assyrian-Chaldean Catholic Church in Campbell, CA presented a very special commemoration and candlelight prayer vigil in honor and remembrance of the martyrs of our Church and those killed in the massacre at our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad, Iraq. The Parish Pastor, Fr. Andrawis Toma was joined by Fr. Noel Gorgis, representing His Excellency, Bishop Sarhad Jammo, and Fr. Michael Barota of St. Mathew Parish in delivering a memorable prayer vigil.

Amongst the guests of honor and in an amazing show of sympathy and Christian solidarity, were pastors from the various Assyrian Evangelical, Presbyterian, and Pentecostal Churches, as well as a distinguished guest, the Honorable Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, member of the U.S. House of Representative.

St. Mary’s congregation was joined by many parishioners from other Churches, who came to witness and share in this evening of joint prayers. After the introductory remarks delivered by Jackie Bejan, the coordinator of the event, the densely packed Church listened to a sequence of prayers, bible readings, and spiritual performances by the Church choir. Presentation of a very moving documentary video http://www.youtube.com/user/martmaryamchurch that was exclusively prepared and narrated for this event was followed by the mesmerizing “Ave Maria” that was sung by Fred Elieh. Father Noel delivered a consoling speech, reminding everyone that the bloods of Martyrs are seed planted for the Church. Inspiring speeches followed by the very emotional Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, as well as pastors of the various Assyrian Protestant congregations, Pastors Ladimer Alkhaseh, Dr. Fereidoun Es-Haq, Albert Aslan, and Brother Johnson Baiati.

A candle-light procession, with the chanting of a Martyr hymn, led the people, over three hundred in attendance, to the grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary outside of the church, where the names of those killed were read out to the accompaniment of a single strike of the bell in honor of each martyr, while hundreds of vigil candles flickered in the calm and dark of the night in their remembrance.

The guests were then invited to a beautiful spread of refreshments and traditional Halva and an opportunity to visit and reflect upon this most memorable evening.

May God rest the souls of our Martyrs and grace our people with His protection, everywhere.