Parish Celebrates Vietnamese New Year
Published: February 2, 2012
RIVERDALE—Our Lady of Vietnam Church, a parish of some 800 families, marked the Vietnamese New Year, formally know as Tet Nguyen Dan, with a Mass and all-day celebration Jan. 22.
Msgr. Francis Pham Van Phuong, pastor of the Clayton County parish, was the liturgy’s main celebrant and parochial vicar Father Peter Vu was the homilist. In his homily, Father Vu told the sizable congregation that Jesus wants his followers to reform their lives as they enter the New Year.
Parishioners, children and adults alike, pick scrolls from the tree with “hoa dao,” a pink blossom that represents the coming of spring. Each scroll is inscribed with a Scripture verse one must try to adhere to during the year. (Photos by Michael Alexander)
“God will provide us with sufficient graces to get through the year. God also blesses us with the responsibility to build up his kingdom like the first disciples,” said Father Vu.
Prior to the final blessing, the clergy stood before the altar as the congregation joined them in a litany of prayers for the New Year. They included prayers out of respect to God, to Our Lady of La Vang, the patroness of the parish, to the Vietnamese Martyrs, and to their ancestors.
At the conclusion of the Mass, a celebration unfolded that included the distribution of “lucky money” envelopes, traditional Vietnamese cuisine and American food, dancing, singing, carnival games and other cultural activities. This year marks the Year of the Dragon. The date of the Vietnamese New Year is determined by the lunar calendar.
Lanh Van Quach, 84, is presented with a gift basket as church members, 80 years and older, were recognized. The baskets of fruit, rice cakes and wine were brought up during the offertory procession.
Wearing the traditional long dress and hat for men, known in the Vietnamese culture as an Ao Dai Khan Dong, the young men hold up a sign that says “Happy New Year” as confetti fills the air.
Ha Mai sings with the choir as she holds her 2-year-old daughter, Lan, in her arms.