Viet Love Mission, organized by a group of Vietnamese parishioners from La Purisima Catholic Church in Orange, serves food and drinks to shelter residents on the first Monday of every month.
On the average, the shelter known as the Orange County Courtyard Shelter and located at the former Santa Ana Transit Terminal, houses 250-300 residents at any given point in time. The menu is different from month to month. On this particular day, the group served fried chicken, steam rice, salad, cheese sticks, bananas, boiled eggs, potato chips, orange juice and water. In the spirit of Christmas, each resident also received a hooded sweater and holiday favors such as candy canes and homemade chocolate chip cookies.
On Monday, Dec. 10, Bishop Nguyen joined the effort. He offered an opening message to everyone present: “I am very happy to be here today. Not as a rookie bishop of Diocese of Orange but as a Catholic who want to share Christ’s love with everyone, especially with those who are facing much difficulty in their life.”
“Christmas is the time of love, time of sharing,” he continued. “We should be joyful because Jesus is coming to us all, rich and poor alike. I am very happy to be here and see everyone in good spirit. Everybody, the givers and the receivers all have smiles on their faces. May God continue His Blessings upon us all.”
Bishop Nguyen’s message to the volunteers: “I am proud of all of you. Today you followed Jesus’ teachings: When you feed the hungry and love the poor, you feed Jesus and you love Jesus.“
Besides helping in serving the foods and distributing the gifts, Bishop Nguyen also joined in singing the Christmas carols. He walked around the permitted area of the shelter, greeted the residents and gave blessings to those who asked.