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St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church
by Zinda Magazine -
Posted: Tuesday, October 03, 2000 09:24 pm CST

The Chaldeans began to arrive to California and the west coast in the 1950's. When the Patriarch visited San Diego in 1964, there were about 15 families. By 1973, the Community counted about 71 families and by then had requested a priest. Fr. Peter Kattoula arrived in December 1973 and began celebrating the Chaldean Mass at different Latin Parishes; St. Martin, Holy Trinity, and Santa Sophia.

In July, 1974 the Community purchased a 5-acre property for $48,355.00 at the present site of the church. In 1975, the first Chaldean Directory in San Diego was published, registering 150 families. In October, 1978, Rev. Ibrahim Ibrahim arrived from Baghdad to assist Fr. Kattoula at St. Peter's Parish. Fr. Ibrahim left by June, 1979.

On June 29, 1979, St. Peter's Parish celebrated the ground breaking for the new church. The ceremony was presided by Bishop Leo Maher, the Bishop of San Diego. On the same day, the parish released the second Chaldean Directory, registering 300 families.

St. Peter's Church was built between November 1982 and March 1984, . On September 10, 1983 the church was dedicated by the Chaldean Patriarch Paul II Cheikho and Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim. Around this time, the Chaldean Sisters opened a convent in order to help Fr. Kattoula in serving the Community. In 1984, Rev. Jacob Yasso assisted Fr. Kattoula for a short period of time.

On September 1, 1985, Fr. Michael Bazzi was assigned as an associate at St. Peter's Parish. On March 20, 1987, Rev. Peter Kattoula passed on and Fr. Bazzi was subsequently appointed pastor.

January 10, 1988 marked the first day of the erection of the Parish Hall. After its completion, the grand opening was celebrated on November 29, 1989. By then the Community had increased to 1,000 families. After the Gulf War in 1990, San Diego experienced a dramatic increase of Chaldean immigrants, where today the Parish membership counts for more than 2,500 families.

Zinda Magazine congratulates Fr. Michael Bazzi and the Assyrian-Chaldean community of San Diego-El Cajon, California for their crucial work in bringing freedom for the tens of Iraqi immigrants from Mexico.

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