The Vatican announced Wednesday that Pope Francis has named Bishop Emanuel Hana Shaleta as head of the eparchy of Saint Peter Apostle of San Diego of the Chaldeans, pulling him from his prior post in Canada.
Bishop Shaleta has until now served as Bishop of the Mar Addai Eparchy of Toronto. Announced in an Aug. 9 communique from the Vatican, his appointment to San Diego came alongside the nomination of Bishop Frank Kalabat, who oversees the Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Detroit, as apostolic administrator for the Toronto eparchy.
Born in Fishkabour-Zakho, Iraq Nov. 12, 1956, Bishop Shaleta completed his studies in his village before entering the Dominican-run Minor Seminary of Saint John in Mosul in 1971.
Like most clergy from Iraq, he was eventually invited to Rome for his studies, beginning courses at the Pontifical Urbanianum University in 1977, after having completed his studies in philosophy and theology.
He was ordained a priest by St. John Paul II May 31, 1984. He then continued his studies at the Urbanianum's Faculty of Theology, obtaining a doctorate in Biblical Theology in 1987.
Bishop Shaleta was then transferred to the United States through the Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Detroit, where from 1987-2000 he served as pastor of St. Paul parish in North Hollywood, Calif.
In 2000 he was named vice-pastor of St. Joseph parish in Troy, Mich. He was subsequently named pastor in 2006, and was later named pastor of St Gregory parish in Township, Mich., a position he held until 2015.
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his priestly ordination in 2009, Shaleta was givene the title “chorbishop,” which refers to a prelate or archpriest of honor in Eastern Christian Churches.
In January of 2015, Pope Francis named him bishop of the Mar Addai eparchy in Toronto, and he received his episcopal ordination a month later, on Feb. 6, 2015.
The bishop speaks Chaldean, Arabic, Italian and English, and is familiar with Assyrian, Kurdish, French and German, as well as Latin, Hebrew and Greek.
The Eparchy of San Diego was established in 2002 by St. John Paul II, who at that time accepted the Chaldean Synod's election of Fr. Sarhad Jammo as the first bishop for the St. Peter the Apostle diocese.
In total, the eparchy covers 17 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.