Archdiocese of Boston's
Vietnamese Community Comes Together
to Translate Lenten Faith-sharing Resource

There was hope and laughter as the group gathered. It was a celebration of the Vietnamese New Year, the Year of the Cat. For this group of 25 adults and children it was a new year in a special way.

“For the Vietnamese community, the New Year is like the American celebration of Thanksgiving,” remarked Hung Nguyen to Sister Honora Nolty, OP of RENEW International, a guest at the gathering. The variety and beauty of the foods prepared and presented by many testified to this cultural significance. As the group gathered around the table for grace in English and Vietnamese, there was a sense of living the Eucharist, of nourishing one another’s cultures as well as bodies; an experience of the One who gathers and calls us all to one with Him.

A Vietnamese priest, a Vietnamese deacon, and three Vietnamese seminarians were among this group. They enthusiastically shared spirited conversation about the faith life of the Vietnamese community here in Boston.

The core of this gathering was a team of parishioners from five different parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston: St. Ambrose and St. Mark, Dorchester, St. Thecla, Pembroke, St. Bernadette, Randolph, and Sacred Hearts, Malden. The team included a Vietnamese deacon and seven laypersons, 6 men and 1 woman. This team had never worked or socialized together before; they came together and organized themselves around a task that would enrich their lives as members of the church of Boston.

As the Archdiocese was preparing to support the small Christian communities which had been formed and flourished during ARISE Together in Christ, this team volunteered to translate the materials for Lenten Longings, the RENEW International resource that would follow ARISE. This team divided the labor and planned the communal editing and reviewing of the body of work in order to present it in a timely manner to RENEW International for review and approval.

“The Vietnamese community valued the experience of coming together as part of the Archdiocesan-wide ARISE effort, and we want to make ongoing small Christian communities a foundation of parish life. And having Lenten Longings in Vietnamese is a way to respond to Archdiocesan needs and to the growing needs of the Vietnamese speaking Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston,” said Deacon Van Nguyen.

As the team gathered at table, they reflected on variety of ways that their work on the translation would be a blessing to themselves and others. New friendships were being made and old ones deepened by working on this common task by putting their faith into action, they would have something to enrich the lives of their parishes and archdiocesan community. There was a sense of pride as they realized their finished product has potential to reach the larger Vietnamese Catholic community in other parts of the country through RENEW International.

Plans were made for how they could present workshops to train small community leaders in Vietnamese in Why Catholic? this coming Fall.

Article and photo courtesy of Hung Nguyen