Divine Mercy is a Catholic mission on the move.
Since officially receiving its name and a full-time chaplain in July, the Vietnamese mission is working to establish its presence in the Diocese of Knoxville. Growth is the goal.
In the three months since Father Hoan Dinh was assigned to lead the mission, the Vietnamese priest has been working with leaders in the mission like Deacon Hieu Vinh and Thai Nguyen, chair of Divine Mercy’s mission council, to increase the number of members.
As part of the effort, Divine Mercy has relocated from Immaculate Conception Church in downtown Knoxville, where Mass was held on Sunday nights, to the chapel at Knoxville Catholic High School in Cedar Bluff, where Mass now is held on Sunday mornings.
Father Hoan said the move was needed to accommodate Divine Mercy’s members because many of them live in West Knoxville. He said growth is more likely to occur if the mission can establish roots in the community where most of its members live and work.
The first Mass was held in the KCHS chapel on Sept. 2.
“The move has gone very well. We have more people coming, including several for the first time. And I’m seeing new families,” Father Hoan said.
He said attendance at Masses has been surpassing 130, which has been testing the chapel’s capacity.
If new members continue to arrive, Divine Mercy may need relocate again, but within the high school.
Father Hoan said shifting to the KCHS gym is an option.
“Most members live in the Cedar Bluff area, so this is a good location for us,” he said.