Joy and thanksgiving

Archbishop blesses temporary church for Vietnamese Martyrs Parish

By Janet Cleaveland 

Lion dance
Archbishop J. Peter Sartain gives the lion “lucky money” during the celebration after the Jan. 30 Mass and blessing at Vietnamese Martyrs Parish in Tukwila. Those enjoying the moment include the pastor, Father Thanh Dao, second from left. Photo: Tommy Le
Archbishop and lion dance
Firecrackers were set off — with the city of Tukwila’s permission — to celebrate the blessing of the temporary church and facilities for Vietnamese Martyrs Parish. Photo: Courtesy Vietnamese Martyrs Parish













Members of Vietnamese Martyrs Parish had a special reason to cherish this year’s Vietnamese Lunar New Year: Archbishop J. Peter Sartain celebrated Mass and blessed their new church on the eve of the holiday, also known as Tet.

The parish was established in November 2010 and parishioners forged a close faith community in south Seattle. As the number of registered households grew to 1,300, though, it didn’t take long for parishioners and their pastor, Father Thanh X. Dao, to realize they needed more space.

So about year ago, the parish bought a former manufacturing site on the Green River in nearby Tukwila. They started renovating the facility at 6801 S. 180th St. to serve as a temporary church and parish center, with lots of space for meetings, classes and youth programs.

Now the parish is building on past success with a plan for the future: “We hope to build a permanent church within three years,” Father Dao said.

The parish celebration continued after the 5 p.m. Mass on Saturday, Feb. 1, with more special food, dancing and entertainment, including the traditional lion dance. To cap off the weekend, the parish invited everyone to attend a 2 p.m. Mass Sunday, then stay to cheer on the Seahawks in the new parish hall.

February 4, 2014