Lunar New Year 2023

Vietnamese Catholic Community


While for the Chinese this Lunar New Year is the Year of the Rabbit, for the Vietnamese, it is the Year of the Cat. According to one explanation, the Cat represents the qualities of vigilance, wittiness, speediness, acuity, intelligence, and honesty.


The Vietnamese Catholic Community was honoured to welcome Archbishop Patrick O’Regan who celebrated the Lunar New Year’s Eve Mass. In his homily, the archbishop invited people in the congregation to put God at the centre of their lives. In this way, they will find long-lasting happiness.


Towards the end of the Mass, the Archbishop blessed the Tree of Divine Word. On the tree hung red scrolls with biblical verses for people to pick. After the blessing, the archbishop picked one roll for the Vietnamese Catholic Community. He then picked one for himself. Then priests and nuns were invited to pick a roll each for themselves.


After Mass, people eagerly picked rolls for them and their families. The biblical verse in the scroll is intended to be the guiding thought for one’s life in the Lunar New Year. There was also a cuppa for everyone to socialise and offer best wishes to one another. The whole atmosphere was joyful and happy after a harsh time of the COVID pandemic.


Apart from the Mass, all Vietnamese Catholic families traditionally have dinner together to celebrate, as Lunar New Year is always a special time for family reunion. They also go to the cemetery to visit the graves of their beloved deceased and pray. This is part of filial piety in the Vietnamese culture.

The Lunar New Year encourages everyone to look forward with hope and confidence for the good things to come. Vietnamese Catholics look to God in gratitude for the year past and put hope and trust in Him for the New Year. Happy Lunar New Year of the Cat to everyone! 

By Monsignor Minh-Tam Nguyen