Around Our Diocese

The Diocese of Orange Celebrates Tet

The Most Rev. Thanh Thai Nguyen, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Orange, presided over two Masses and celebrations marking the Lunar New Year and the traditional Vietnamese Tet holiday in February.

Bishop Nguyen was at the Vietnamese Catholic Center (1538 Century Blvd., Santa Ana) for the Mass at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 1. On Feb. 5 at 8:30 a.m., Bishop also presided over the Mass and provided a special New Year’s blessing at the Our Lady of La Vang Shrine on the Christ Cathedral campus.

Tet is an abbreviation for Tết Nguyên Đán, which means the first morning of the first day of the first period. The Orange County celebrations are among the largest of their kind in the United States.

Many varieties of flowers were displayed throughout the week. Firecrackers were also lit, an act that is believed to weigh off evil spirits.
On the first morning of Tet, adults celebrate the New Year by presenting children with red envelopes that contain “lucky money,” or lì xì.

The Tet festival is not only a New Year’s celebration; it is a celebration of the symbiotic relationship between all things and honors the peaceful relationship between the Creator and humans.

Families often display yellow Mai flower trees (mai vàng) and/or cherry blossoms (hoa đào). They will also showcase other flowers, such as yellow chrysanthemums or orchids, which signal spring and a new beginning.

A tray of fruits is also displayed as a symbol of prosperity. Plenty of foods were prepared on the Lunar New Year’s Eve for family and friends to enjoy for three days of the New Year.

St. Polycarp Hosts Drivethru Distribution Event

St. Polycarp Catholic Church hosted a drive-thru food distribution event in its parking lot on Saturday, Jan. 29 for families in need. Distributed items included: whole chickens, yogurt, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, frozen foods, milk, juices, meats, cheeses, diapers, hand sanitizers, PPE COVID supplies, masks and COVID tests.

The event was sponsored by St. Polycarp Catholic Church FSC, Friends of Families, United Across Borders Foundation and the Community Action Partnership-Orange County Food Bank.

Walk  for Life, Orange

On Jan. 22, Fr. Al Baca, director for evangelization and faith formation for the Diocese of Orange, joined over 350 Catholics on the Walk for Life. Many came in groups from their parishes. St. Thomas More was present in big numbers with their pastor, Fr. Eugene Lee.

The day begin with the celebration of Mass at St. Norbert in Orange. After Mass, a long procession of joyful Catholics walked almost 3 miles to Holy Family in Orange.

This was the second year that the Walk for Life, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, has marched in the Diocese.

“Last year, 25 people marched in the first Walk for Life, so this year’s number was amazing,” said Fr. Baca.

Various Right to Life/Family Services were on hand to support the event, including Obria Medical Clinics, Mary’s Path, Horizon Pregnancy Clinic and Forty Days For Life. Special thanks to Jeff Rice of the Knights of Columbus for spearheading the event.

“Next year, we will double the numbers,” said Fr. Baca. “We gave witness to Life and to Jesus with prayer and joy!”

POLYCARP CHURCH, STANTON. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE DIOCESE OF ORANGE