Published October 15, 2009
Archbishop-emeritus John F. Donoghue will be the principal celebrant and homilist. The fourth-degree members of the Knights of Columbus will provide an honor guard.
A multilingual rosary will be prayed outdoors before the shrine of Our Lady of LaVang, followed by Mass. The rosary and Mass will be offered to honor the priests, in keeping with “The Year for Priests.”
Our Lady of Vietnam is located at 91 Valley Hill Road in Riverdale.
This year’s event also marks Our Lady of Vietnam’s 11th anniversary as a parish. The outdoor shrine and plaza area are graced by a 13-foot statue of Our Lady of LaVang, which was sculpted in Vietnam from a single piece of solid marble.
Our Lady of LaVang appeared in Vietnam in 1798 to Vietnamese Catholics hiding in the rain forest to escape persecution at a time when Catholics were being persecuted for their faith. Many Catholics sought refuge in the rain forest near Quang Tri, a village in central Vietnam, where they experienced hunger and illness.
They were praying the rosary when the Blessed Mother appeared, wearing traditional Vietnamese dress and a crown. She was holding Jesus in her arms with two angels on either side of her. She encouraged and consoled them, telling them to boil leaves from the plentiful ferns nearby as medicine for their illness. She also promised to receive the prayers and petitions of all who congregated at that site to pray. The Blessed Mother appeared on several more occasions at that same site, following her first appearance there.
In 1959 La Vang was officially declared a national shrine, marking the 300 years of the Church’s presence in Vietnam.