Catholic Vietnamese Community Opens New Church in Texas

January 19, 2002

Source: The Houston Chronicle

On January 19, 2002, The Houston Chronicle featured an article on "the new Our Lady of Lavang, a Catholic church with touches of Vietnamese lore... The tallest of its multitiered, pagoda-like red roofs is topped by a cross - a symbol of the parishioners' faith. But the dragons perched on the edges of the roof and the 27-foot painted window of the Lady of Lavang are reminders of the homeland that many parishioners abandoned to begin new lives in the United States... Finishing touches are still being added to the 1,100-seat sanctuary, which was officially dedicated in December. But the northwest Houston church already has become not just a place to worship but a symbol of Catholic faith infused by the cultural influences of a vibrant and growing immigrant community... Our Lady of Lavang is one of four predominantly Vietnamese parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Galveston-Houston, and all of them are growing in number and vitality, said Monsignor Frank H. Rossi, chancellor of the diocese... In less than a decade all four parishes, including Our Lady of Lourdes, Vietnamese Martyrs and Christ, the Incarnate Word, have constructed new buildings. 'I think it is reflective of the new waves of immigrants who are coming into the United States,' said the Rev. Donald S. Nesti, founding director of the University of St. Thomas' Center for the Study of Faith and Culture. 'The Vietnamese are very proud of their culture, which they should be. Now they are in a position that they can construct and support the buildings.'""