Heart and Soul:Building up St Rose Church One Brick at a Time

October 28, 2016
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By Seth Daniel

Thai Nguyen dumps a fresh pile of sand to be flattened out before the final few yards of brick are placed to finish the promenade.

Thai Nguyen dumps a fresh pile of sand to be flattened out before the final few yards of brick are placed to finish the promenade.

After thousands of volunteer hours and lots of hard work, usually coming after a hard day of work, a dedicated group of Vietnamese parishioners at St. Rose Church have created a beautiful new paved plaza on the north side of the church in order to beautify the Parish and the city.

“All of these people who have been working here all of these months are doing this voluntarily to make the church better and to make the city better,” said Tom Tran, the project manager. “They put their heart and soul into the project. We have done this project not for just our church, but for the whole city of Chelsea.”

Starting in early April, according to Cuong Pham – the leader of the large Vietnamese community at St. Rose, volunteers began cleaning up and preparing the site. They would come every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. – often coming after a hard day’s work at their regular jobs.

Over the summer, many might have seen them during the weeknights as well, using flood lights to help see as they lay stones, created a new raised flower wall and pounded down the ground in preparation for the plaza stones.

“To get this done, over the last two months we’ve been coming out Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday,” said Pham. “We work all day Saturday and then from 5-10 p.m. on the weeknights. We think we need to grow and have more festivals and community events.”

The work crew averages around 20 men working, with a high of about 50 on the weekends.

Meanwhile, a dedicated group of women have banded together to provide food for the workers every evening and on Saturdays. Bringing hot plates and huge pots of soup and noodles, the women serve hot, hearty soup to the workers – who take a break on the site to eat.

“The women are volunteering to bring food,” said Pham. “Every day we work here, we have a volunteer group to cook the food for us. It’s the whole community working on this in different ways.”

The St. Rose Church and it’s dedicated volunteer workers plan to come together on the new plaza for a ribbon cutting and celebration on Nov. 6.


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