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huongbay 07-30-2008 07:40 AM

Dai Hoi Thanh Mau Carthage Missouri
 
Carthage preparing for annual Marian Days celebration

By Susan Redden - [email]sredden@joplinglobe.com[/email]

Published July 27, 2008 09:22 pm - CARTHAGE, Mo. — It will be another week before early campers start to arrive, but Carthage city crews and brothers at the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix have plans well under way for the annual Marian Days celebration that starts Aug. 7.
The grounds of the CMC campus at Fairview and Grand Avenues are being prepared for the arrival of thousands of Vietnamese Catholic visitors, and neighborhoods around the campus are being readied as well.


Carthage preparing for annual Marian Days celebration


By Susan Redden - [email]sredden@joplinglobe.com[/email]
[url]http://www.joplinglobe.com/local/local_story_209212228.html[/url]
CARTHAGE, Mo. — It will be another week before early campers start to arrive, but Carthage city crews and brothers at the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix have plans well under way for the annual Marian Days celebration that starts Aug. 7.
The grounds of the CMC campus at Fairview and Grand Avenues are being prepared for the arrival of thousands of Vietnamese Catholic visitors, and neighborhoods around the campus are being readied as well.


Carthage police have gone door to door to homes surrounding the grounds to learn which residents will allow visitors to use their yards for camping. The event fills up motels throughout the area. Many of the celebrators camp on or near the CMC complex so they can visit with friends and relatives, and for easy access to Marian Days activities such as Masses and other religious services, entertainment and meals served by churches.


“We’ve gone door to door, and we mailed letters to homes where we couldn’t make personal contact,” said Capt. Randee Kaiser of the Carthage Police Department.


Police check with neighbors to learn if they will open their yards for camping or other uses by the visitors.


“We document their wishes and keep it on file,” Kaiser said. “Some people don’t want campers. Some people welcome them and have had the same families use their yards year after year.”


Kaiser said fewer families camp in neighborhoods since CMC has opened up additional property, including a large tract across Fairview Avenue to the south of the main complex.


He said Carthage police also are organizing the security detail that will work the event. In addition to Carthage police, officers from the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department and the Joplin, Webb City, Carterville, Carl Junction and JasCo Metropolitan police departments are signed up to help provide round-the-clock security. Officers staff a command post, patrol the grounds and man barricades that control traffic into and out of the complex.


The costs for the annual celebration are shared, with the city of Carthage paying 25 percent and CMC 75 percent.
Most of the costs are to pay for additional police officers so the Carthage department can maintain normal staffing in other parts of the city during the celebration.


Kaiser said a mobile command center from the Missouri Department of Public Safety will be used as security headquarters, and officers will go get the vehicle on Friday. The event will start Thursday, Aug. 7. Celebrators often arrive early, and some who live nearby will come on the weekend before to set up tents in prime locations.


The early arrivals are one of the changes he has noticed about Marian Days in the 14 years he has been in Carthage, said Brother Thomas Dien, who is Marian Days secretary.


“They come earlier every year,” he said.


Though the gathering is a reunion for families and friends, it is primarily a religious event, and Brother Dien said he believes that is what brings people back each year.


“They need to feel God’s presence in the world, especially in difficult times,” he said.


Brother Dien said this will be the first Marian Days for Bishop James Vann Johnston, the new bishop for the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Archdiocese, and that John Leibrecht, now bishop emeritus, also will attend. He said the event will mark the 20th anniversary of the canonization of the Vietnamese martyred saints in 1988 by Pope John Paul II.


Though it is virtually impossible to estimate the number of people who attend Marian Days, police officials estimate the crowds at between 40,000 and 60,000. Turnouts have been larger in anniversary years or those marking special religious celebrations.


In addition to the Vietnamese Catholics who attend the event, the celebration has become popular among local residents, who enjoy the food and other activities.


Marian Days is reported to be the largest annual gathering of Vietnamese Catholics in the United States. It includes religious services and convocations for families and all age groups, plus entertainment and a procession featuring Vietnamese celebrators in native dress.


The event started in 1977, after the fall of Saigon, to honor the Virgin Mary, and to bring together Vietnamese Catholics and give them an opportunity to work and visit with friends and relatives.


Council approval
The Carthage City Council last week approved allowing for the use of a loudspeaker until midnight, fireworks displays and parade during the Marian Days celebration.


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