The Church needs volunteers to carry out its mission, and the Tran family of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Whitehall are a family of volunteers.
Parents Thanh and Helen, and their six children – Tina 25, Tiffany 23, Maria 21, Emily 17, Vincent 16 and Daniel 13 – volunteer in many areas of their parish and the Diocese.
“Our parents have always encouraged us to get involved in the community,” said Tina. “We love to give our time to volunteer and serve the Church to help build up the community as Jesus calls us to do. Volunteering is also an opportunity to bond and spend time together.”
With the onset of the Coronavirus last year, the children had more time and sought the opportunity to volunteer, so they began helping at the Catholic Charities Chew Street Soup Kitchen in Allentown, said Tina, “with the food boxes program – organizing donations, packing and distributing the boxes – and with the Fall Fest and Christmas community events. Our parents have been involved in helping as well.”
Helen, Tina, Tiffany and Maria are youth leaders of the St. Teresa of the Child Jesus Chapter of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement (VEYM).
“We study Sunday Gospel and learn about faith through natural and spiritual activities following the motto of prayer, receiving Communion, sacrifice and Apostolic works,” said Tina. “Our youth ministry includes youth ages 7 to 17 of which my younger siblings are members.
“We usually meet every week at SS. Simon and Jude, Bethlehem, where the Vietnamese community has Vietnamese Mass on Sundays, but with the pandemic we have been meeting online weekly.”
At their parish, the children have helped with Vacation Bible School every year. Daniel, Vincent and Emily are altar servers. Emily is a sacristan. Thanh, Tina and Tiffany serve as lectors. Tina and her parents are Eucharistic ministers. Thanh and Helen are in the choir. And Tina is youth minister for middle school/eighth grade and high school.
“The Tran family is a certain blessing to our parish,” said Mary Spieker, Director of Religious Education at St. Elizabeth. “They are intricately involved in parish life and their faith. Their family comes to weekday Masses as often as possible and every Thursday evening, and stays for Adoration. They glow with their love for Christ and the Eucharist.”
Outside the parish, Tiffany and Maria have been involved with several service trips and projects through DeSales University, Center Valley.
Tina is on the diocesan Commission for Young Adults. With Bishop Alfred Schlert and the diocesan young adult coordinators, “we have discussed what being a Catholic young adult is like and how the Church can minister to the young adults of our Diocese,” she said.
“Tina has been instrumental in recognizing and communicating the religious and spiritual needs of the young adult population in the Diocese of Allentown,” said Maggie Riggins, Director of Young Adult and Campus Evangelization. “Her insights regarding the celebration of culture, as well as catechetical formation, will help set the tone and activity for young adult ministry in the future.”
Helen also recently joined the diocesan Commission for Women and is serving as treasurer.