My Dear Parishioners,
About six months ago, I met with members of our parish council and the finance committee. Many were present but no Vietnamese parishioners. One of the subjects we talked about was Mass attendance. Although we are blessed with a large church that holds over a thousand people, our four weekend Masses are only about twenty to thirty-five percent full at each Mass. Technically, our church is big enough to hold everyone in one Mass. My suggestion was to eliminate one Mass or to have one Mass in Vietnamese. Since I have been here, many Vietnamese parishioners have asked for this. We have many Vietnamese Catholics in our church and school. A third of our 1,616 members are Vietnamese. Sadly, we have lost about 600 families in the past decade due to different reasons, situations and circumstances.
Today, All Saints is a multi-cultural parish with a large number of Vietnamese who love our church and school. At one point in the meeting, I left the room for about 15 minutes so that parish members could talk openly about my suggestions. When I returned, they voted to have one of our four Sunday Masses be in Vietnamese. I informed them that I must visit with Bishop Kemme for his approval. A week later I met with Bishop at the chancery. He then called a special meeting with the Diocesan Vietnamese Council (DVC) (Fr. Ben Nguyen is the chairman and Vietnamese representatives from most parishes in Wichita are members). Four days later, the meeting was held at the chancery. Everyone strongly suggested to Bishop that there should be another Vietnamese Mass in the diocese to serve not only the spiritual needs of All Saints’ Vietnamese parishioners, but also those Vietnamese in other parishes who might wish to attend Mass in their own language. For many years throughout the diocese, including most parishes in Wichita, there have been Masses in Spanish but only St. Anthony has Vietnamese Masses.
On Sunday, November 24th at St. Anthony of Wichita, on the celebration of the 118 Vietnamese Martyrs, Bishop Kemme announced to everyone that there will be Masses in Vietnamese at All Saints. Our first Mass in Vietnamese will be on Christmas Eve Mass at 6pm. Thereafter, one of our four weekend/Holy Day of Obligation Masses will be in Vietnamese. The reason to wait until Christmas Eve for the change is to allow time for adjustments. So, yes everyone is welcome to any of our Masses to fulfill the Sunday obligation - three Masses in English and one in Vietnamese. Do you know that it will be a challenge to me to use two languages in one weekend? Do you know that reading, writing and speaking English is hard enough for me; but to read, write and speak Vietnamese is harder? After my third grade in Vietnam, I skipped many years of schooling to look for food to feed my family. I started learning A, B, C at North High of Wichita and continued learning English in my 9 years of seminary colleges. I am 47 years old—a slow learner in languages; however, I trust that God will come to my aid. God has been good to me ALL-THE-TIME. Thank you--Jesus, Fr. Hien
Stewardship: Please complete & return your forms to the office before December 15. Thank you!
Parish Penance Service: 4pm Sunday, December 15th with guest priests: Ben Nguyen, Doug Campbell, Eric Weldon, Curtis Hecker, Paul Oborny, and Dwight Birket. All confirmation students are expected to attend and to have dinner with guest priests in Fischer Center.
Father Hien Nguyen