More than 3,000 Vietnamese Catholics celebrated mass at the Grotto of Lourdes on Saturday, August 30, afternoon.
This weekend marked the 31st anniversary of the annual pilgrimage, which brings together worshippers from 19 Vietnamese communities in the mid-Atlantic states, said Monsignor Joseph Trinh, president of the Vietnamese Catholic Community in the region.
Nine priests celebrated the afternoon mass in Vietnamese, and other church members performed traditional songs and dances. Attendees huddled under umbrellas on the grotto's hillside to escape the sun and humidity.
Grotto chaplain the Rev. Jack Lombardi assisted with the mass, and said while he doesn't speak the language, he appreciates the group's faith.
"It's a lot of spiritual fun, and it's inspiring to see God's love manifested through different languages and cultures," he said.
Trinh, of Philadelphia, has made the trip to Emmitsburg every year since 1991. The event is primarily religious, but it's also a reunion for many church members, he said.
"We're here to honor Our Lady, but it's also a place we meet and see old friends," Trinh said.
Members of the Vietnamese Catholic Community travel to other religious sites and shrines throughout the year, but Trinh's group enjoys the pilgrimage to the Grotto of Lourdes for its history, he said.