NBC 5 Arlington Reporter Mola Lenghi takes us inside the largest Vietnamese Catholic Church in Arlington
The biggest Vietnamese Catholic Church in America is in Arlington.
With a capacity of 2,000 people, the Vietnamese Martyrs Catholic Church at Mayfield Road and Collins Street is a 29,000 square foot work of art.
More than 750,000 pounds of Vietnamese marble and granite make up everything from the floors and the walls, to the statues of saints.
The pews are crafted out of American oak. There's custom art work and stained glass throughout. Not to mention a bell tower that's visible from a mile away – literally, you can see it from I-20, which is exactly one mile away.
Perhaps most impressive is that the $6.8 million price tag was picked up by the church members, with each family donating an average of $3,000.
“For us you have a place to worship,” said Tony Kieu, a volunteer and member of the church.
But Arlington has not always been home for many of the church's members. During the 1970s, half a million people fled Vietnam's communist regime, with many refugees resettling in Arlington and bringing with them their Catholic faith.
Today, that community has grown into a roughly 4,000 member congregation.
“We're very proud that we have our, the church building, it's beautiful, it's beautiful. And proud of all our Vietnamese community,” said Kieu.
That’s a far cry from the congregation's previous church – a converted grocery store, still standing next door to their new church. A standing reminder of how far they've come.