Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! Happy New Year!



Have any of you ever celebrated Tết (Luna New Year)? What would we, as Vietnamese Catholics, do during Tết? Let me tell you.

The first thing we do is to go to church to celebrate the meal that Jesus is inviting us to. We receive blessings from God and the church, and after that we receive blessings from our parents, grandparents, Godparents, and from each person that we meet.  We also go to different houses to receive blessings and share meals with extended families, friends, communities and more.

We are also ready to welcome all friends and relatives that come to our home with blessings with plenty of food and laugher.  We practice being in the present moment, being kind, helpful, happy, and being as loving and welcoming a person as possible during the New Year celebrations.  We also pause everything and enjoy the company around us. 

Most of the blessings are received verbally and most of the time it is included in a red envelop with “ lucky money” called bao lì xì. The younger you are the more red envelopes you get. For my family, lots of us would start the blessing with, “last year, past”. “ New Year, coming”. “I wish, I bless, and/or I’m praying for you to be filled with God’s love, peace, longevity, happiness, joy, luck, ect…

And every first day of the New Year is a special Mass. The church would read the same Gospel from Mathew 6: 25-34, “…Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” The main petition for this Mass focuses on praying for PEACE for ALL and reminding us to trust in the prominent power of God.  We are encouraged to lean on God and to live in the present moment.

Being here in Chicago, I was fortunate to be able to attend a Vietnamese Mass and had a chance to celebrated Tết with the Vietnamese community at the Holy Child Jesus Parish and with the CDN and Hyde Park communities.

Every year, Tết reminds me of the many blessings I have received from God. It’s also a time to remind me to be more aware of living in the present, the importance to be at peace, and learning again to recognized God all around me. It’s a time to call me back to the table, the church, the community, the family. In addition, Tết reminds me of the welcoming and unlimited invitation to the Lord’s Supper to each of us and especially for me.  If Tết season is gone and as the days go by, I know for sure that I am always welcome at the Lord’s Table and I can always receive many blessings there. The only thing the Lord requests is for me is to show up.  And so, YOU ARE TOO!

                            Happy Tết! Happy Lunar New Year! Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!