Parishioners were adamant at first against the church's new name and the idea of opening it up to the Vietnamese American community, but the pastor, Rev. Bill Barman, convinced them that the change would be good.
"Father Bill explained that the Virgin Mary is the same everywhere," Maldonado said.
Our Lady of Lavang, according to Catholic faith, was a vision of the Virgin Mary that appeared at the end of the 18th century to persecuted Vietnamese Catholics.She
is as important to that community as Our Lady of Guadalupe is to Mexican culture.
Parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes
, who is frequently approached by illegal immigrants, to understand their culture, traditions and needs.
is being targeted because he
is "the wrong race."He
is fluent in Spanish and has visited Vietnam but speaks little of the language.He
has worked too hard for the new parish to step down now.
"What would I look like if one month before the move I say, â€˜Sorry, I'm leaving?' " he
said.The bishop called Barman a fine priest but said he lacks experience with the Vietnamese culture.