Hmong Catholics Celebrate New Year’s at St. Patrick’s in St. Paul

By Fr. Harry Winter, OMI

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The Hmong Catholic Community which recently began to attend St. Patrick’s Church received a welcome permission from Fr. Greg Gallagher, OMI, to hold their New Year’s Celebration in the parish hall on Dec. 13, the date which they decided would be their New Year.  (It seems the date of the New Year Celebration is decided by the local community).

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Following the 10:30 am Sunday Mass, the Hmong invited all the parishioners to a Youth Fashion Show, and a delicious dinner.  The Youth Fashion Show was far more than a fashion show.  Fifteen young adults modeled the difference in dress depending on whether the wearer was from one of the four Hmong geographical areas in Laos, Hmong-Thai, Hmong-Chinese, New Hmong, New Laos Hmong, or Hmong American.  The colors and embroidery are exquisite (see the two photos).

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Oblate Fathers, Bob Morin (L) and Harry Winter enjoying the Hmong feast

Besides Fr. Bob Morin and Fr. Harry Winter, OMI, the other “Americans,” as the Hmong call us, the African-Americans, and the Hispanics from the parish, all enjoyed the banquet and program.

Among the Hmong attending, there was constant reference to the those who have accompanied them on their journey from Laos to the USA, during this 40th anniversary year of their forming a community in Minnesota:  the martyrs such as Fr. Mario Borzaga, OMI, and catechist Paul Thoj Xyooj (both to be canonized soon), and Fr. Daniel Taillez, OMI, now retired in France.

Fr. Daniel Taillez, OMI

Fr. Daniel Taillez, OMI

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Paul Thoj Xyooj, Fr. Mario Borzaga,OMI