By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Photographer | Published February 2, 2012
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.
“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.