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Sisters of Providence invited to Vietnamese New Year Mass

Tet dancing for web

An example of Vietnamese dancing during the Tet celebration, which also included authentic food and warm camaraderie.

Sisters of Providence Mary Beth Klingel, Dominican Sisters My Huong Pham and Yen Pham  and I joined SP Sister Anna Ho, at a Lunar New Year Mass with the Vietnamese Catholic Congregation at St. Joseph Church in Indianapolis this past Sunday. Father Minh Quang Duong was the presider.

The Vietnamese New Year or Tet Nguyen Dan (Tet for short) is a very rich, significant tradition in the Vietnamese culture. The actual Tet holiday will take place from Feb. 19-21, celebrating 2015 as the Year of the Goat. It is a time to come together for thanksgiving, welcoming the New Year and honoring of ancestors.

Tet is also a time for family reunions, paying respect to parents and giving “lucky” money to children and elderly people. The money is given in red envelopes which signify prosperity and great luck for the giver and the receiver.  The holiday also includes time for visiting relatives, letting go of past year’s hardships and welcoming a blessed new year.

Tet scroll tree web

At the conclusion of Mass was the blessing of the Scripture-bearing tree, a Tet tradition. Each family was invited to pick a scroll and encouraged to live by it throughout the year.

The Mass incorporated an ancestral remembrance by having  representatives of  four generations  process to a small shrine, bow three times to the sound of a gong, and place burning incense sticks in a bowl of sand.

Another tradition at the conclusion of Mass was the blessing of the Scripture-bearing tree. Each family was invited to pick a scroll and encouraged to live by it throughout the year.

Everyone enjoyed Vietnamese special food and camaraderie,  a program  of dances, songs, a play “ The Kitchen of God,” and a children’s fashion show  that was organized by a committee,  the catechists and Vietnamese language teachers with  Sister Anna Ho.

Năm mới dồi dào sức khỏe – I wish you all a healthy new year!

In Providence,
Sister Editha Ben, eben@spsmw.org, phone: 812-535-2895
Vocation director

P.S. If you know of a young, single Catholic woman who would make a great sister, invite them to a Come and See weekend with the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. The SPs currently minister in 17 states, the District of Columbia and Asia.

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Sister Editha Ben

Sister Editha Ben currently ministers in the Congregation's Mission Advancement Department.

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1 Comment

  1. S. Paula Damiano on February 18, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Sounds wonderful! And Happy Lunar New Year to all our Asian friends!!

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