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Parish 5 Day Outlook

Monday, March 2nd

Grade Check
Lenten Prayer Service • 7:55am - 8:10am
United Way Reading to PreK-K • 8:30am - 9:30am
Meals on Wheels-Mrs. Rinker • 11:15am - 12:15pm
Tuesday, March 3rd

6th grade Vocation Day-
Walk in Sister's Shoes Ends
Wednesday, March 4th

Staff luncheon • 11:30am - 1:30pm
PSR • 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Thursday, March 5th

Scholastic Book Orders go home
RCIA Class • 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Friday, March 6th

End Quarter 3
Baptismal Mass • 8:05am - 9:05am
Children's Choir Practice • 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Stations of the Cross • 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Lenten Soup Supper • 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Excerpt from Father's Story Print
Written by Summer Creed   
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 13:21

In the next few weeks, as Father Hien is gone in Vietnam, we will be listing excerpts from his book.  You may find the book in it’s entirety in the top left hand corner of this webpage.

JOURNEY WITH MOM:  Not too long after that, my fourth sister Huyen [Alice] was born in early May 1984.  It was on a cold rainy night about three in the morning and I was in a deep sleep.  Suddenly my mother woke me up and said, “Wake up and take me to the clinic!”  I didn’t know what she meant or where the clinic was but she said that she was about to give birth to my sister.  My dad had been sick that night.  After she got a straw hat, she told me to run over to my aunt’s house, and tell her to come and help my mother.  Once I got back, my mother grabbed my hand, and she and I were walking so fast we were running in the dark toward the clinic.  She was walking twice faster than I was, first because I was half asleep and second because she was in a hurry to get there before giving birth.  She already had one child in her pants, and she didn’t want that to happen again.  Once we got close to the clinic she told me to stop by and wake the assistant nurse, as she continued walking towards the clinic.  I was a bit frightened to enter his house because he had some mean dogs.  I went in and banged on his door and told him what happened then I ran fast to catch up with my mother.  Not too long after she got to the clinic, my sister was born, and immediately the church bell rang.  My aunt who came right after us told me to run home and get some lime to sanitize the baby’s belly button.  I went home to my grandfather’s house and picked some limes from his tree and brought them to my aunt.

Once I returned to the clinic, it was very early in the morning.  I was very tired because of all the walking and running in the mud due to the rain all night.  I found my aunt washing my mother’s pants in the river, and the water was muddy because of the rain.  It was the main river in the area and so it’s pretty large and the current was very strong.  Suddenly she asked me to jump into the river and save the pants for my mom that she accidentally let go of, that were floating to the middle of the river.  I had never swum in this river before because I was afraid to due to its strong currents.  It was a cold morning as well, so I did not want to jump in.  I had to think for a little bit about where I could swim back to the bank once I got in.  I jumped in and got the pants and got back safely but it was very cold once I got out of the water.  On my return home fully soaked, I realized that the road we took was very muddy, slippery and dangerous but during the night nothing happened to my mother or me.  God kept my mom safe so that my sister could be born and have life, so that I could enjoy having her as one of my sisters.

This sister of mine was born healthy and my mother was also perfectly healthy.  However, before my mother conceived Alice, I believe she had a serious miscarriage that almost cost her life.  After she had the miscarriage at home there was leftover afterbirth that caused my mother serious sickness for weeks and months.  My dad tried and tried to find help to heal my mother but he could not, until finally they found an herbal healer who lived far away and she helped with the right herbs to restore my mother’s health.  There was no modern medicine or surgery to help my mom.  I remember traveling to her house to get herbs for my mother.  I told myself that I did not want my mother to die.  I also helped my sister cook the herbs to make medicine for my mother.  I never enjoyed going away from home to a strange village or place but because I was the only son and the oldest in the family, I had no choice.  I never liked to walk for hours to my mom’s parent’s house in another village, but I had to do what my parents asked of me.

DEATH CAME TO OUR FAMILY:  July 13, 1984, my mother’s mother in the next village died so I went to the funeral with my family.  It was my first time seeing a dead person in a coffin.  It was from that day on that I no longer got goodies from my grandmother.  She always gave me some chicken eggs for the family or sugar cane to eat as I walked home.  She was very small in stature but very hard working like my mother.  Both of them always gave their entire selves to their families.  It was truly like mother like daughter.  Since the day of her death, I have missed her very much and thankfully I still have her by having my mother with me.

Not too long after that, my dad’s father also died and I was there at his bedside.  It was my first time witnessing someone die in his bed.  I remember my grandmother was crying so loud.  He died around eight in the evening, when most of his children were around him.  After he died, every hour there were people coming to his house to visit his body and pray for him day and night.  For two days and nights, there were many guests.  Finally we took him to church for an early morning 4:45 a.m. burial Mass on a rainy day.  It was very muddy at the cemetery, and everybody was dirty, including me.  I remember seeing a big deep hole as they lowered my grandfather’s coffin into the hole with bamboo ropes.  We manually shoveled dirt over his coffin.  It was then that I realized eventually we all have to die and be buried.  After his funeral, my uncle butchered a young water buffalo in celebration of his life and to thank everyone who had come to give their condolences and help out.

After my grandfather died, my dad planned to move our family to a different town so as to escape.  He couldn’t do so before because his dad told him that as long as he lived he would not allow my dad to take our family to escape.  My grandfather knew how dangerous it was to escape.  He himself had escaped from North Vietnam to the south, so he knew the dangers.  He had seen too many either in jail, or killed while escaping, or captured by pirates.  Not only that but if the Communists knew that a member of a family was escaping, they would give the family members that stayed behind a hard time, for Communists have no mercy or fear of any person or God.

There were many nights in my childhood when the Communists came to my aunt’s house, looking for my cousins, to force them to into the military or to go to a labor camp in Cambodia.  Many nights when I was with my aunt and cousins, and even during the night while people were sleeping, if we heard an adult walking or a dog barking, then my cousins would have to flee out the window and hide in the rice field, bushes, or in the river.  Two of my cousins who were a few years older than me were captured and we didn’t hear anything from them for four years.  The Communists had taken them to Cambodia to a labor camp.  Even to this day, our world is full of violence and killing of innocent people.  As a matter of fact, it is happening legally in America, that over one million Americans are being killed by abortion each year.  Why are we killing our own flesh and blood?  Please pray for an end to abortion as it is the most evil action in the world.  Over 49 million babies are killed by abortion worldwide every year.  Thankfully none of us were victims of abortion.

 

 
Excerpt from Father's Story Print
Written by Summer Creed   
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 11:32

In the next few weeks, as Father Hien is gone in Vietnam, we will be listing excerpts from his book.  You may find the book in it’s entirety on our website at www.stjosephmcpherson.com.  There is a link to it in the top left hand corner.

LORD, MAKE ME YOUR FISHER OF MEN!  Since that day, I took greater care of Jennifer and she became my closest sister.  She was three years younger than me.  My mother had quite a story in giving birth to Jennifer.  When it was time for my mother to give birth to her, my dad put my mom in a small canoe, taking her to the clinic a few miles away.  About halfway there my mother gave birth to my sister in the canoe while it was raining.  My dad didn’t know what to do.  He stopped the canoe and carried my mother to shore and brought her into a neighbor’s house.  The family was shocked and didn’t know what to do when they saw my mother with her baby in her pants.  My dad was furious and said to the family, “You better help me take care of my wife and baby.”  They did and both my mom and sister were fine.  God took care of them through the hands of their neighbors.  I can’t imagine how happy my parents must have been to have another child after losing my older sister and brother.  We were all precious to them.

Jennifer grew up and became strong and healthy like a boy.  I never saw her get sick in her childhood.  We went to church together every morning at 4:45 a.m.  We walked in the dark and in the rain.  Before Jennifer’s accident, I wasn’t always nice to her because she was a girl, and I was her big brother who she looked up to for getting tasks done.  I took advantage of her and made her act like a boy by running and walking while having the confidence of a man.  What I meant was that I often acted like a ghost to scare her, or made our neighbor’s dog angry so he would chase after us, and she would have to run with me, frightened and crying.  Jennifer was pretty innocent, and I had to teach her about everything, how to start a fire for cooking and even how to cook different dishes.  She always loved to do things with me and did them well.

In those days, we had hardly anything, not even a lighter to start a fire for cooking.  We cooked our food over an open fire.  We used rocks for the pot to set on.  We had no electricity, gas burner or firewood or much straw to burn either.  Most of the time we had to cook our food, or food for the pig, with rice shells, which is very smoky and hard to light, especially when it’s wet or humid outside.  We had to blow on the fire to get it started which got ashes on our face.  It was even harder to start the fire when rainwater leaked into our cooking area.  My sister Jennifer learned fast the tricks I taught her, such as killing a fish before you clean it.  Hit the snakes and eels on the head and not on the body.  Grasp the eels with your middle finger along with some ashes in your hands, because they are very clammy and slippery, and the ashes give you a grip.

I don’t think I ever slapped her or hit her physically but whenever another kid made her cry or made her upset, I beat that kid up.  She was three years younger than me but as she grew older, she did everything as well or twice better than I.  She knew how to do things around the house, such as cooking and babysitting; she was also very smart and always did very well in school.  As a matter of fact, she can read and write Vietnamese better than I can.  She knew more prayers and songs than me, and, of course, today she is a million times better cook than me.  We did many things for our family.  She was more of a homebody than me; she didn’t hang around much with friends like I did.  She gave her time to her family, taking care of them and cooking for them.

None of my siblings and I ever complained to one another about the things we had to do for our family or about how our parents treated us.  Because of this, I loved my childhood because I never complained or even felt jealous of other kids for what they had and I didn’t.  I loved my family and I loved to do what was asked of me, and I did it well.  I liked to play games [rubber bands, marbles, and spinning tops] with other kids.  I was known to make the tops spin for a long time.  I cut them from a fresh cut guava tree with my knife and smoothed it with a broken piece of glass.  The smoother the top, the longer it would spin.  I also made many traps out of bamboo to catch all kinds of fish, eels, snakes, turtles, and birds, especially field rats, for dinner.  All of the children my age did not have to do what we did because their families were better off than my family.  What I did at the age of 7 or 8 was done mostly by adults; however, even they were not much better than I was at fishing, or catching fish in the mud with my hands.

Every time a neighbor was done bailing out all the water in their ponds to harvest all the fish they could, they would allow people like me to hunt for any fish that might be left behind.  Now, every pond was full of mud in the bottom, sometimes two or three feet deep.  Many of the fish hid in the mud but no one could see them with the naked eye.  To catch them, you had to put both hands into the deep mud and try to find the fish but sometimes you caught a snake or eel instead.  The trick was that once you found a fish, you never acted up or yelled out because others would move close to you and take it away from you.  The rule was that the fish was not yours until it was in your basket.  So every time I found a fish, I always looked for the head and grasped it with both of my hands; therefore it wouldn’t escape.  The fish were very slippery due to their nature and also because they were in the mud.  If the fish had moved and swam away in the mud or popped up above the mud, then everyone would jump in and try to catch it.  I didn’t tell you that every fish sways its tail--flopping around like crazy when you hold it with your hands.  Yes, every time I caught a fish, my face was full of mud.  However, I had to do what was asked of me to feed my family.

Since the age of six years old, I was very observant and I learned handy work fast.  My family had an old and heavy bicycle.  I learned how to bike on my own.  My legs were too short so I rode the bike sideways.  I did not take swimming lessons.  I learned how to swim by jumping into the water and swimming and I have done it ever since.  I spent many hours with my cousin, and every Sunday (we didn’t work because it was the Lord’s Day) my friends and I swam and played games in the river, sometimes for four or five hours.  One Sunday, after I swam for many hours and forgot to eat, I walked to church and attended Mass at four in the afternoon.  After Mass, I fainted after everyone was gone, and lay in the pew.  A sacristan found me and others came and walked me home to my parents, who fed me uncooked rice.  I could have been dead from starvation.  They believed that uncooked rice helped me.  I think it’s a myth.

 

 
Excerpt from Father's Story Print
Written by Summer Creed   
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 11:26

In the next few weeks, as Father Hien is gone in Vietnam, we will be listing excerpts from his book.  You may find the book in it’s entirety on our website at www.stjosephmcpherson.com.  There is a link to it in the top left hand corner.

INTRODUCTION:  My dear beloved family and friends, thank you so much for taking the time to read about my life.  Please help me thank God for my life, my priesthood and everyone God has blessed me with for the first 40 years of my life.  Many of you I have had the privilege to meet and know well, while many others who have loved me much and prayed for me I have never had the chance to meet in person.  I thank God for you all and I love you all.  I know that God knows your good heart and He will bless you for your great love, kindness and generosity to me.  As you read this story about my personal life written from memory, the life God has blessed me with, please thank God for His eternal love for me.  I need God’s love in me in order for me to live well each day, and in return I love and serve others, as He would like me to do as a priest.  Every day of my life has been a gift from God and I pray that I will have many more blessed days ahead of me here on earth and for eternity in heaven with all my family and friends.

From the day my memories begin, I have never regretted a day of my life, and I wish that everyone would feel this way about their life.  Every day of our life is a gift from God, to be with Him and to be with others in unity and love.  I love each day and I am sharing this story from memory without any consultation from my family or any notes or documents.  This is truly what I see, witness and understand as God gave me.  God knows me inside and out, He watches over me, and He leads me to be who I am today—a priest, a son, a brother, and a friend to all I meet, although I’m still working to be a better person to all.  My beloved family consists of my mom and dad, my older brother and sister who died many years ago, my four surviving younger sisters and a younger brother who was born in this blessed country.

MY CHILDHOOD:  I was born sometime in 1972.  According to my mother, Lan Dinh, I was born during the hot summer months while the American war in Vietnam was going on.  However, my father’s younger sister told me that I was born two weeks before her son, and he was born in September.  When I was growing up, there were no photographs, records or paperwork of any kind, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc., which is why I don’t know the exact date of my birthday.  Therefore, since I have been in the United States, I enjoy telling people that “everyday is my birthday,” because I love each day of my life.  God bless my loving mother because all she remembered was that it was a blazing hot summer day and she could hear bombing from the war.  My dad, just like my uncles, was gone assisting the South Vietnamese government who, with the Americans, were fighting the Communists.  My dad came home from the war once in awhile to see my mother and give her all the money he had earned in order for her to take care of the family while he was away.  My dad served many years in the war and was injured.  Thankfully he was not killed in battle like his two older brothers and many friends and neighbors.  He told me that when he was young, he loved to play volleyball and compete with other soldiers and friends.  He was known to be a good hitter in volleyball and he always enjoyed his time with his friends.

My parents told me that they got married in 1968 although they never told me what day and month it was.  I don’t think they remember the date of their wedding because they were quite young when they got married.  He was about 20 and she was about 17.  They hardly knew each other before they were married mainly because the war was going on, and young men must marry quickly before they went to battle.  My parents never dated each other before they got married in church.  Their marriage was pretty much pre-arranged by their parents just like most couples in those days.  I believe my father did see my mom once or twice before he married her.  She was from a village nearby.  After their wedding day, they lived with my dad’s parents because that was part of our culture, also because he had to leave for the war, and also because they were poor.  I thank God for my parents because they are happily married and surrounded by their children and grandchildren.  They have always been the best parents to me in words and deeds, and above all, in loving and caring….

Recently as I was driving with my dad in my truck, he shared with me his childhood experiences.  It was in 1954 that many Vietnamese from the northern part of the country, where the Communists were, had to flee to the south for freedom and better lives.  My dad told me that when he was a young boy, 6 or 7 years old, his family would have to dig a hole in the ground of their house to bury their food.  The Communists would come to their house any time during the day and take what they had, including all their food.  They had no freedom or future.  One day in the middle of the night, my dad’s family fled in a small boat in the ocean where they were rescued by the American soldiers in their ships who brought them to South Vietnam.  The Vietnamese president in the south, Ngo Dinh Diem, joined forces with the Americans against the Communists from the north.  He accepted my dad’s family, along with millions of others, and gave them a piece of land to build a house and farm.  For this reason, all the people in my village in the south spoke the same dialect and they were all Catholic.  They fled together and lived together to support each other.  Most of my dad’s family (likewise my mother’s family) were able to escape from the north in 1954.  Both of my parents had nine siblings in their families, three sisters and five brothers.  All of their parents are dead, except my mother’s father who is still living in Vietnam.  My grandfather told me that he was very proud to work for the Americans when they were in South Vietnam.  Because of his commitment and service to America, he was given the opportunity to leave Vietnam and live in the United States, but he chose not to so he could stay with his family.  A few years ago, he came to the United States to tour this free county and visit his seven children and many grandchildren in Alabama, Kansas, Texas, and New Jersey.  He enjoyed his visit to America.

 

 
Weekly Message from Father Print
Written by Summer Creed   
Wednesday, 04 February 2015 10:28

In the next few weeks, as Father Hien is gone in Vietnam, we will be listing excerpts from his book.  You may find the book in it’s entirety on our website at www.stjosephmcpherson.com.  There is a link to it in the top left hand corner.

Below is a poem written for Father by a former parishioner:

 
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A Sample of an Online Source for Catholic News and Formation

With a careful search and examination, one can find a wealth of information online about the Catholic faith and Catholic culture.  RealCatholic TV is such a source for current information and commentary on how the Catholic Church and present day culture meet and, in some instances, clash.  Providing up to the minute commentary on political and social matters, messages from bishops of the church, reflections on the saints of the day, and a variety of other information, this site is one that will provoke you to think about your faith and the world in which we live.  Here's a recent video segment:

 

 

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