Vietnamese Catholic Ministry
The Vietnamese Ministry at St. Francis Parish was founded in September of 2003 by Father Victor Toan Dinh, the then Parochial Vicar of the Parish. At that time, the Ministry was simply aimed to primarily serve the small Vietnamese Catholic population in Bakersfield. In fact, there had been a modest number of Vietnamese Catholics living in Bakersfield since early 1990’s. However, it was not until early 2000’s that the need for a Ministry was evident with the rapid growth of the Vietnamese population in Bakersfield, especially when Father Victor was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi.
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When first established, we had about 20 families. Presently we have over 100 families in our Ministry and we continue to grow in spirit and in size! Last September we observed the eighth anniversary of our Ministry.
Despite being modest in size, we have a diverse social, regional and thus cultural background. The people of our Ministry come from literally all over the world. Some youth have grown up in the Parish in families who have been in the neighborhood for generations. Meanwhile, some people have found a home at St. Francis of Assisi from other parts of the city and/or surrounding areas whereas some have relocated to Bakersfield for jobs or a potential business opportunity. In addition, some families are recent immigrants to the United States. More importantly, a number are families who came to join our Ministry seeking to find a place for God in their lives and who have joined the Catholic Church here.
We strive to make our Ministry a place where all are welcome to seek to worship the Lord, to praise His goodness and to serve Him by serving one another, our neighborhood and the world. Rooted in our faith in Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary (through the image of our Lady of La Vang) and inspired by the charisma of St. Francis of Assisi, we actively welcome everyone to our community. We are committed to strengthening our Mission of Community focus by promoting and embracing an atmosphere of welcoming inclusiveness, acknowledging the diversity of God’s children of all ages, their heritage, personal challenges and individual needs. We encourage all to join in our community by participating in our worship and volunteering to share their time, God-given gifts and talents.
Another important mission of our Ministry is to preserve the Vietnamese culture and traditions. As faithful Catholics, we seek to enrich our Catholic experience as well as to deepen our relationship with God and one another through prayerful and inspiring liturgies, the celebration of the sacraments, and the devotional life of the Church. As disciples of the Lord Jesus, we are called to keep our faith vibrant and to pass on the faith for all generations to come, that we may bring others closer to Christ and continue building the kingdom of God.
We celebrate Mass regularly and currently we have one Vietnamese Mass at 7:30 p.m. every Saturday. Besides, we have two big yearly events: (1) The Procession of Our Lady of La Vang in mid-August in commemorating a vision of The Blessed Virgin Mary that was seen in La Vang town (central of Vietnam) in 1798 and (2) The celebration of our traditional Vietnamese New Year. Each event starts with a solemn and beautifully-designed Mass and a big party that follows for the whole community.
The Catholic Mothers’ Group
The Catholic Mothers’ Group feeds the homeless in Bakersfield once a month on a Wednesday (6:00 am) or Sunday (7:00 am).
The Sacred Heart Choir
Practice is every Friday evening (8:00-10:00 pm).
The Sacred Heart Men’s Group
The Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Group
The Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Group meets every Saturday afternoon at 3:30 pm.