Aug 18, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Bursting with life and activity, the first Vietnamese parish in the United States marked its 25th anniversary last weekend with a mass, celebrated by Bishop Paul Loverde. Archbishop Stefano Nguyen Nhu The of Hue, Vietnam, flew in as a special guest for the evening mass.
It was standing-room only at the anniversary mass for Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Parish in Arlington, Aug. 14, and the crowd that watched the mass on a television screen in the church lobby spilled out onto the sidewalk, reported the Catholic Herald.
This was not unusual for a parish that has been experiencing non-stop growth for the last quarter-century. When the parish first began, there were only 25 families, and mass was being celebrated in different locations. Today, the community has a church building and 1,750 families, says Bui Huu Thu, founding parishioner and president of the parish council.
Other signs of life and community abound. For starters, there are 16 groups and seven choirs in the parish, and the senior citizen group has 100 members.