Buddhists from around the country celebrate completion of new Temple in Henrietta

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Buddhist monks from across the country, and other supporters, gathered to celebrate the grand opening of a new temple in West Henrietta Saturday afternoon.

More than 20 years ago, the Wat Pa Lao Buddhadham Temple was founded and has been growing ever since. Making Saturday even more special for those who came from around the country to celebrate. Everyone who came through the temple doors were welcomed open arms.     

Wat Pa Lao Buddhadham Temple President Pany Counlapane said that the temple welcomes anyone comes through its doors.

“We are gathering from all over the country, everybody here to come join the unity. We are trying to serve the culture, our culture, our heritage here in Rochester New York,” Counlapane said.

Saturday’s celebration of the newly constructed temple was even more special.

“It’s going to be a beautiful place for people to come in, get together, celebrate, on a holiday, or on any special occasion. And teach the Lao culture. Pass on many generations to come,” Counlapane said.

After three years of helping build the new temple, builder Sal Amselio said he couldn’t be happier to see it’s door open.

This pretty much saved my life during COVID, this building here. Because I was able to focus on building this for the community,” Amselio said.

One by one, sacred ornaments were lifted to the top of the newly built temple roof, which are meant to serve as protectors of love and the sacred ground.

A temple which Counlapane said welcomes anyone from any spiritual background.

“So you are welcome to stop by. Everybody is welcome to visit our temple,” Counlapane said.