A community celebration of Chinese New Year drew crowds to St. Michael’s parish in Flushing, Feb. 10.
Festivities began with an afternoon Mass celebrated by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, followed by a reception in the parish hall with Chinese food and music. The bishop blessed those present and prayed for their ancestors.
After Mass, he handed out red envelopes with dollar bills inside to every attendee, including all of the children.
“We welcome the new year as a time to have new resolutions to be better people. We realize our faults and have a time to try harder to have a better year ahead,” the bishop told the crowds.
Father Peter Bai, the parochial vicar at St. Michael’s, translated the bishop’s homily from English to Mandarin so all could hear his message.
“You are joined here today by your family and friends and we show how important these relationships are,” the bishop said.
New Strength, Zeal
“For those not here, bring them to the church. You never know the miracles that can happen. The Lord gives us new strength and new zeal. There is always enough of Jesus for all of us.
“I pray for all of you and for all of your ancestors, for all those that give you life, and for this time that you have in the world. Make good use of the time God gives you.”
Bishop DiMarzio invited all present at Mass to rise and receive a special blessing – for themselves and their ancestors.
Along with Father John Vesey, pastor, and many parishioners, Bishop DiMarzio enjoyed a meal of Peking duck, shrimp, rice and noodles at the reception following Mass, as well as performances from a choir, a piano player, a violinist and a soloist.
The parish celebration marked the beginning of the Year of the Pig, the 12th animal in the Chinese zodiac. In Chinese culture, pigs are the symbol of wealth.
Having ministered in the Republic of China before arriving as pastor, Father Vesey knows how important this holiday is to his Chinese parishioners at St. Michael’s parish, and was grateful to have the bishop lead their new year’s celebration. Father Vesey gave his final thanks in Mandarin.
“This is a time for family to gather,” he said. “Here at the parish, it is a time of unity as all the different people have come together as a family of God. It is a wonderful time as we have so many young people involved.”
He hopes to continue to increase that involvement and evangelization efforts among Chinese immigrants and Chinese-Americans who are settling in Flushing.
“We have about 40 people to be baptized at the Easter Vigil this year and that number is a little bit less than last year, but it shows our community is growing and how blessed we really are,” Father Vesey said.
Attendee Vincent Wang enjoyed the meal, music, and time with his family.
“This time is always very important to all of our families,” Wang said.
“We come together and celebrate. We enter a new year and are excited for what God has in store for us. We pray that it will be a joyful year.”