Bishop to celebrate Mass at gathering of Asian, Pacific Islanders May 21-22

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Vietnamese Catholic Community will have its first annual gathering of Asian and Pacific Islanders, “United in Faith: Celebrating the Eucharist,” May 21-22 at St. John Neumann Church. Bishop Robert J. Baker encourages all Asian and Pacific Islanders to attend the gathering.

The bishop will celebrate Mass, and Father Joachim Le Quang Hiên will be the guest speaker and homilist.

Father Hiên is a native of Vietnam and is pastor of St. Anthony Church in Spokane, Wash. He is a liaison between the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Episcopal Conference of Vietnam for the Federation of Vietnamese Catholics in the United States. He received degrees from the Pontifical College of St. Pius X, Dalat, Vietnam, in philosophy and theology, and from the University of San Francisco in applied spirituality. Father Hiên has been a popular retreat master and lecturer among Vietnamese Catholic communities for 25 years. His focus is on parish renewal, youth, family and culture, and connections between Eastern and Western self-transformation processes.

On May 21 the workshop will be from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the USCCB pastoral, “Asian and Pacific Presence: Harmony in Faith,” at St. John Neumann Social Hall. On May 22 there will be a blessing of the new Our Lady of Lavang statue and procession at 2 p.m. A Mass in celebration of Our Lady of Lavang will be from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Food and entertainment will be provided by various Pacific and Asian communities.

There is no fee to attend, but registration is required by May 16. To register call the Office of Ethnic Ministries at (864) 234-9009 ext. 118.