Bishop Richard F. Stika will celebrate the dedication Mass at the Church of Divine Mercy, located at 10919 Carmichael Road in West Knoxville. Father Hoan Dinh, Divine Mercy chaplain, will concelebrate the Mass.
Divine Mercy Catholic Mission members, after attending Masses first at Immaculate Conception Church in downtown Knoxville and then at Knoxville Catholic High School in recent years, have been looking for a permanent church site and last summer worked with the diocese in identifying a church building in West Knoxville that was for sale.
The diocese acquired the former Northstar Church building and Divine Mercy celebrated its first Mass in the new location Sept. 1. Northstar relocated to a church facility at 9929 Sherrill Blvd.
Father Hoan Dinh said Divine Mercy members have been doing renovations at night and on weekends to transform the building into a Catholic church. The Carmichael Road property includes a house that will serve as the Church of Divine Mercy rectory.
Father Hoan said the Vietnamese mission has been steadily growing to the point a permanent church to hold Masses was needed. The Vietnamese Catholic community began forming in Knoxville in the late 1980s and early 1990s and by the mid 1990s was gathering for Masses. The dioceses of Memphis and Lexington, Ky., for years dispatched Vietnamese priests each month to Knoxville to lead Mass for the community.
As the community grew, Bishop Stika recognized the need for a permanent priestly presence for it, and in June 2012 announced that Father Hoan would become chaplain for the community. At that time he also announced the community would become Divine Mercy Catholic Mission.
Divine Mercy Catholic Mission’s Sunday Mass attendance now averages 130-140 members. Masses at the Church of Divine Mercy are held each Sunday at 9 a.m. and weekdays at 8:30 a.m. The mission’s website is http://divinemercyknox.org.