Growing Vietnamese Catholic community begins to build a parish at Church of Divine Mercy
Some 20 years of prayer, planning, hard work, and trust in Christ by Knoxville’s Vietnamese Catholics culminated Nov. 17 in a Mass celebrating the community’s first church.
Bishop Richard F. Stika dedicated the Church of Divine Mercy before an audience that included 10 priests, a number of religious sisters, Chancery staffers, and a standing-room-only gathering of Divine Mercy faithful. The Divine Mercy Catholic Mission originated in the early 1990s and previously called Immaculate Conception Church downtown and Knoxville Catholic High School home before moving west to 10919 Carmichael Road in September. Among those present at the dedication Mass were Father Ron Franco, CSP, pastor of Immaculate Conception, and Dickie Sompayrac, principal of KCHS.
“What a great joy it is to be here at this Church of Divine Mercy as we celebrate as a diocese, but also in a special way as we celebrate with our Vietnamese sisters and brothers, this very special moment in the life of this diocese,” Bishop Stika said, “in the life of the church within the life of a family that has suffered so greatly throughout the centuries but comes together in hope, and joy, and gratitude to almighty God.”
In his homily the bishop stated that a relic of St. Faustina Kowalska, who is venerated as the Apostle of Divine Mercy, was on its way to the new church.
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