Phillip Phan and his wife Hannah Vu bring up the gifts to the altar.
Vietnamese Catholics rang in an auspicious 2012, Year of the Dragon, with its annual Lunar New Year Mass at Our Lady of Lavang Church on Sunday.
Archbishop John Vlazny concelebrated with the priests of the church, members of the Domus Dei Clerical Society of Apostolic Life, and a number of other priests.
In Vietnamese culture, the dragon is a particularly powerful and lucky symbol, and the Mass carried a theme throughout of joy and hope for the New Year.
During the homily, Archbishop John Vlazny said to look to the beatitudes as a roadmap to be good and faithful disciples during the upcoming year.
“Jesus says blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the meek,” he said. “In these messages, joy prevails.”
Each year for the celebration, which pairs Vietnamese culture with Catholic tradition, Our Lady of Lavang is packed, with spillover seats full in the parish center where parishioners can watch the Mass projected on large screens. Mass-goers spill out into stairwells and entryways, respectfully listening to the Mass, even if they were not in a position to see the altar.
“As we begin the new year, we must remember that we are loved,” said the archbishop, adding that the love must be shared.
After the homily, Father Bartholomew Dat Pham translated the homily for the Vietnamese-speakers at the Mass.
During the evening, the Vietnamese Catholic community presented a gift to Archbishop Vlazny to recognize the 50th anniversary since his ordination.