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Pilgrims participate in a Rosary procession on Vietnamese Day at the Shrine.

Vietnamese Day 2018

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By Melanie Williams (Aug 25, 2018)
Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 — Hundreds of Vietnamese American Catholics gathered at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy to celebrate faith and family, the two most important values in their culture.

Coming from all over the Northeast region of the United States, pilgrims young and old celebrated their love and devotion to Jesus, the Divine Mercy.

Huythanh Tran, 18, from Bridgeport, Connecticut, a youth leader in the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement, shared what a joy it is for him to be able to serve his culture and community on a special day like this.

"Our youth movement is nationwide. It is our hope that where there are Vietnamese American Catholics, our youth movement is present," Huythanh said. "We gather kids from ages 7-17 to bring them closer to God. We want to teach them that God and faith should be the center of our lives and help form them to become good men and women."

For role models, the youth needn't look very far. They were joined in Saturday's celebration by parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents.

"Faith and family are the most important values in our culture," Huythanh said. "To celebrate these is to celebrate our identity. Many Vietnamese in America came after 1975, after the war. They came in blind faith, in hopes to build a better future for their family. They came believing and trusting in God and His love."

Practicing this trust in God over the decades has naturally led to a deep devotion to Divine Mercy among the Vietnamese Catholic community. Indeed, trust in God is the very heart of the message of Divine Mercy.

"Divine Mercy for us is an emphasis on the love of God which is endless," Huythanh shared.

The love of God and family was strong in the heart of their grandparents who came to America over 40 years ago. It has been passed down through the generations and remains strong today.

"We hope to continue to pass this on to those younger than us so that they can become even better than we are."

Their day at the Shrine included presentations to adults and youth on the topics of faith and Divine Mercy. The pilgrims also had opportunities to go to Confession and pray before the Blessed Sacrament. Holy Mass was celebrated in Vietnamese. The celebration included a beautiful procession, music, and dances reflective of Vietnamese culture and faith.

Joining the celebration was the Most Rev. Mitchell Rozanski, bishop of the Diocese of Springfield. He gave a homily reflecting on the readings for the 21st Sunday in ordinary time.

Watch Bishop Rozanski's full homily here:

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