National Catholic Reporter

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Kansas City church celebrates Vietnamese New Year

  • Members of Anredunglac, the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Society of America, form a line as Bishop Robert Finn prepares to lead a procession at the beginning of the Mass. (NCR photos/Eloisa Perez-Lozano)
  • Father Joseph Phan Toong Hanh welcomes Bishop Finn at the opening of the Mass.
  • Members of the church choir sing a song during the Mass.
  • The congregation listens to a reading during the Mass.
  • Bishop Finn gives his homily in English and it is translated into Vietnamese afterward.
  • Girls of the Parish Sunday School perform a liturgical dance asking God for a blessed New Year.
  • Nhat Quynh Pham, left, closes her eyes during the liturgical dance.
  • Cindy Ngo puts flowers in a crystal vase as an offering back to God.
  • Vu Dinh, president of Anredunglac, prays the “Our Father” during the Mass.
  • A member of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Men’s Association shakes hands with a fellow parishioner.
  • Parishioners walk back to their pews after communion.
  • Bishop Finn hands a little girl a red envelope with lucky money in it.
  • Bishop Finn hands each child a red envelope with lucky money to start off the New Year.
  • Everyone in the congregation lines up to receive their lucky money from Bishop Finn.
  • One of the lions bows to Bishop Finn during the Lion Dance.
  • Nicholas Phan, left, acting as Ong Dia, makes fun of the lion during the Lion Dance.
  • Dustin Pham plays the drum during the Lion Dance.
  • The crowd looks on as Nicholas Phan provokes the lion.
  • A young girl tries to hook a fish after the Mass. This was one of many games available for children to play.
  • Children eat traditional Vietnamese food after the Mass. Food included beef-based Pho soup and meatballs on a stick among others.
  • Tuyet Nguyen accepts payment for plates of Vietnamese food. Parishioners used their lucky money to pay for the home-made food and in doing so, gave money back to the parish.
  • Plates of beef-based Pho soup were one of many items available to eat.
  • Pham Nguyen collects money during a dice game called Ox, Crab, Fish, Tiger. Children picked which animal the dice would show and then keep or lose their money depending on the roll of the dice.
  • Fruits, right, and traditional Vietnamese cakes were the special gifts presented to Bishop Finn during the Mass in honor of the New Year. The fruits represent the work of our hands while the square and long cakes represent the sun and the moon, respectively.

A special Mass was held Saturday to celebrate the Vietnamese New Year at the Church of the Holy Martyrs in Kansas City, Mo. The Mass included special gifts as well as a liturgical dance as an offering to God. There were games and food available in the church basement afterward. According to, The Vietnamese New Year, Tet Nguyen Dan, is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar. It is a time for people to express their respect and remember their ancestors while bringing in the new year with beloved family members. People believe that the way one behaves on the day of the new year will reflect how the rest of the year will unfold, the site says, and because of this, many people will smile a lot and be on their best behavior.



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