Day 1 in Iraq — Monday May 22, 2017 — by Deacon John

We arrived in Erbil, Iraq on Monday morning around 10am local time. The flight from Georgia to Iraq included a 7-hour layover in Doha, Qatar from midnight to 7am. Deacon Fadie and Perrin were able to sleep a bit, but Rodney and I struggled throughout the night. Rodney worked on the Vlog while I tried reading. Upon our arrival to Iraq, our driver, Riyan, picked us up from the airport and took us to St. Peter Seminary in Ankawa– a Christian town in the city of Erbil. Staying at the seminary allowed us to meet the future of the Chaldean Church outside of the United States. We are fortunate enough to get to know 14 men discerning and preparing for priesthood from all over the world– mainly from Iraq, Iran, Egypt, and Canada. Before coming to Iraq, I didn’t realize how important it was to meet the seminarians and to build relationships with them. These men will be the future priests of the Chaldean Church throughout the world, and I hope to be able to work with them for the glory of God.

Unlike our routine in Georgia, the seminary in Erbil is very structured and makes me feel like I’m back at Sacred Heart. For those who are interested, here’s an outline of our daily obligations:

6:45am — Supra (Morning Prayer) and Mass

8:00am — Breakfast

9:00am- 12:00pm — Teaching at Mar Qardakh School

1:15pm — Lunch

3:30pm — Liturgy Class with Shamasha Saleem

7:15pm — Ramsha

7:45pm — Dinner

8:15pm — Rosary with Procession

On top of our mandatory daily obligations, I make time for a Holy Hour each day. As you can see, the day is very structured and full. I’m not complaining at all– in fact, I’m grateful. The structure has given me an opportunity to experience life at the Chaldean seminary and compare and contrast this style of formation with the formation I receive at Sacred Heart.

Although we were running on very little sleep throughout Day 1, we battled through the day and went to bed at 10pm for some much needed rest.

All for Jesus,

Deacon John

*Here’s a picture of Perrin praying in the house chapel at the seminary