Community is a Heterogeneous Concept

Topics: Vietnamese

Each person has a specific definition. When it comes to community, we often think of community as the people who have something in common and purpose will be united as a group and share their commonalities. A community can be a social networking group for dog lovers or even a school where all students have the same goal of graduation. For me, there is the community that I belong to; the community where Vietnamese immigrants communicate in their native language, participate in activities according to Vietnamese culture, and where people who believe in God unite.

It is the Vietnamese Catholic community.

The Vietnamese Catholic community has a regular meeting to celebrate the Mass at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Tacoma, Washington. The church was established in the 1900s. Afterward, the Vietnamese community joined the parish in 2009, and the community has grown up to this point in time. The primary purposes of the Catholic church are to help understand the faith, educate community life, liturgical education, and initiation for evangelization.

However, as a Catholic community, we also serve all people with love and respect, faithfully working and living for the common good. Every Sundaeducatey, people will be attending the Mass to commemorate Christ’s Paschal mystery as an act of thanksgiving, praise, and joy to promote spiritual growth and reflect the love of Jesus for everyone in the Catholic community. During the Mass, the pastor will give a sermon based on what the Word of God said to the community. This will help people receive the teaching of how to be a good person in life and how people can apply virtuous deeds to their community and society.

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After Sunday Mass, there will be joint activities in the Vietnamese community and catechism classes for young people. The parish is divided into several departments to serve the community, such as the liturgy department, security department, gastronomy department, audiovisual system department, art department, et cetera. The most active department on Sunday is the gastronomy department. They will sell and serve traditional Vietnamese dishes for breakfast in the building near the church. The proceeds will go to the parish fund, and these funds will be used for the maintenance of the building of the parish and other community activities.

Right after the breakfast activities, parents will leave their children in the building to attend catechesis in preparation for receiving the Eucharist and Confirmation. My younger sister finally can attend catechism after two years of not going. This was due to several reasons after we immigrated to the United States. My sister’s attendance in catechism was also one of the reasons I decided to be an assistant teacher in catechism classes for this Vietnamese Catholic community. Moreover, as a Vietnamese community, the parish also has Vietnamese language classes for those parents that want their children to speak in their mother tongue language.

The Vietnamese Catholic community not only welcomes newly immigrant Vietnamese people but also welcomes Americans and others. Immigrant Catholic families from Vietnam, especially those with elderly people, often go to Vietnamese churches to attend Mass in Vietnamese when they come to America to thank God for the safe journey to America. After the Mass, people in the Vietnamese community will invite them to join the community. Sometimes, some new Vietnamese immigrants are still facing mental and financial difficulties. They can come to seek help from the people in the Vietnamese community: those people with experience and extensive social capital since they have lived in the United States for a long time.

There are also many cases where Americans also participate in the Vietnamese Catholic community. For example, local Americans can join if they desire, or American parents who adopted Vietnamese children and want their kids to take part in the culture of their homeland. They will come to church with their children and participate in community activities. Or if an American is married to a Vietnamese, they will follow their significant other to join the community. The Vietnamese Catholic community is open and welcomes everyone to join, the diversity will make the community stronger.

A special thing is that the Vietnamese community are ways have activities and celebrations that enrich the Vietnamese culture in the Vietnamese Catholic Community. Typically is the Lunar New Year, which is called Tết Nguyên Đán in Vietnamese. Before the Lunar New Year, the community will call upon everyone to join the activity of making Chung cake: a traditional Vietnamese rice cake. The church will celebrate Mass on New Year’s Eve and the first three days of the year: the first day of Tet is to pray for peace for the whole year, the second day is to pray for ancestors, and the third day is to sanctify labor. During that week, the community will hold some activities like lion dance, fairs, and cultural performances. It was just one of many other cultural activities that made me feel immersed in the atmosphere of my homeland.

On the whole, the Vietnamese Catholic community is the community where people come to find a common voice and are unified in the love of God. Due to the epidemic right now, people cannot go to church but our parish is still trying to broadcast Masses online to help people keep their faith during this time. Do such Masses contribute to creating a respectable Catholic communal or is it just a boring Mass, without meaning, and filled with hypocritical or judgmental people as many say?

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Community is a Heterogeneous Concept. (2022, May 13). Retrieved from

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