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La Vang, Vietnam (1798)

   
History

Traditionally Approved

40 - 999 1400 - 1499
1000 - 1099 1500 - 1599
1100 - 1199 1600 - 1699
1200 - 1299 1700 - 1799
1300 - 1399 1800 - 1899

Vatican Approved
Bishop Approved
Coptic Approved
Approved for Faith Expression
Apparitions to Saints
Unapproved Apparitions

Summary

Many Christians took refuge in the jungle near Quang Tri, a village in central Vietnam, where they prepared themselves for martyrdom. Many people died from the bitter cold weather, lurking wild beasts, jungle sickness and starvation. At night, they often gathered in small groups to pray the rosary. Unexpectedly, one night they were visited by an apparition of Our Blessed Mother in a long cape, holding a child in her arms, with two angels at her sides. She comforted them and told them to boil the leaves from the surrounding trees to use as medicine. She also told them that from that day on, all those who came to this place to pray, would get their prayers heard and answered. All those who were present witnessed this miracle.

Timeline

1552

The Le Dynasty is usurped by the family's chief Regent, Mac Dang Dung. Two political elite families, Trinh and Nguyen, regained power and split Vietnam into a northern (Trinh) and southern region (Nguyen and Le). The Nguyen capital was established at Dinh Cat.

1593

Catholicism was introduced into Vietnam by Father Diego Aduarte, a Dominican, who came onboard a Spanish merchant ship and established a mission in Dinh Cat.

 

Jesuit priest Francisco Buzoni maintained his predecessor's mission through good relations with the Nguyen family. With the arrival of Father Francisco de Pina, an Italian Jesuit who was fluent in Vietnamese language, many people converted to Catholicism, including the king’s aunt. Thirty-seven parishes were established around Dinh Cat.

1624

Father Alexander de Rhodes, a French Jesuit, arrived and initiated the Vietnamese alphabets that are being used today. For more than forty years, Catholicism was marginally tolerated due to the opened relations with European powers, such as Spain, France and Portugal.

1788

The Nguyen dynasty expanded their territory southward and re-united the north and south regions into what is now Vietnam.

1789

The official capital of Vietnam was moved once again, sixty kilometers southward, to Hue.

1798

The Nguyen Dynasty decreed Catholicism as a foreign religious sect leading a working class revolt against the dynasty. A few months later, direct attacks for extermination were aimed at all thirty-seven parishes in Dinh Cat. More than 100.000 Vietnamese Catholics died as martyrs.

1798

Many Christians took refuge in the jungle near Quang Tri, a village in central Vietnam, where they prepared themselves for martyrdom. Many people died from the bitter cold weather, lurking wild beasts, jungle sickness and starvation. At night, they often gathered in small groups to pray the rosary. Unexpectedly, one night they were visited by an apparition of Our Blessed Mother in a long cape, holding a child in her arms, with two angels at her sides. She comforted them and told them to boil the leaves from the surrounding trees to use as medicine. She also told them that from that day on, all those who came to this place to pray, would get their prayers heard and answered. All those who were present witnessed this miracle.

1876

From the time the Lady of La Vang first appeared, the refugees erected a small chapel in her honour. During the following years, her name was spread among the people in the region to other places. Despite its isolated location in the high mountains, groups of people continued to find ways to penetrate the deep and dangerous jungle to pray to the Lady of La Vang. Gradually, the pilgrims that came with axes, spears, canes and drums to scare away wild animals were replaced by those holding flying flags, flowers and rosaries. New pilgrimages went on every year despite the continuous persecution campaign.

1886

The persecution ended. The original chapel, made of straw, soon became too small. From 1885, several chapels were built one after another: the last, with its three small huts, was blessed in 1928 by Bishop Eugene Maria Giuseppe Allys (Ly, in Vietnamese), who was then Vicar Apostolic of Hue.

 

During the period 1886-1928, the locality of La Vang was dependent on the parish of Co-Vuu, in the Province of Quang Tri. In 1928, in order to respond to the needs of the growing number of pilgrims, Bishop Allys erected La Vang as an independent parish.

Aug 6, 1901

After the persecution had officially ended, Bishop Gaspar ordered a church to be built in honour of the Lady of La Vang. Because of its precarious location and limited funding, it took 15 years for the completion of the church of La Vang. It was inaugurated by Bishop Gaspar in a solemn ceremony that participated by over 12,000 people. The bishop proclaimed the Lady of La Vang as the Protectorate of the Catholics.

1924

A larger church was built to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims.

April 13, 1961

The Bishops of South Viet Nam (then divided from North Viet Nam by the 18th parallel), assembled in Hue, made a vow to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to consecrate a temple to the Blessed Virgin when circumstances permitted, asking Our Lady for freedom for the Church and peace for both parts of Viet Nam.

Aug 8, 1961

In their joint letter of the same year, La Vang was recognized as a national Marian Centre.

Aug 22, 1961

Pope John XXIII elevated the church of La Vang to the Basilica of La Vang. (In 1959 it had been raised to minor basilica status)

1972

This church was destroyed in the summer of 1972 during the Vietnam War

April 30, 1975

After the country's reunification when South Vietnam fell under the control of the communists, the Lavang complex had enlarged to include a retreat center, a hospitality center, an outdoor amphitheatre and a beautiful statue of Mary commemorating her apparitions.

May 1, 1980

All the Bishops of Viet Nam, gathered in Ha Noi solemnly renewed the recognition of La Vang as a national Marian centre, singing the Salve Regina on their knees and in unison with great faith and devotion.

June 19, 1988

Pope John Paul II in the canonizing ceremony of the 117 Vietnamese martyrs, publicly and repeatedly recognized the importance and significance of the Lady of La Vang and expressed a desire for the rebuilding of the La Vang Basilica.

Nov 25, 1992

in his General Audience , the presence of Archbishop Etienne Nguyen Nhu The, the current Archbishop of Hue, gave the Holy Father the opportunity of referring to the La Vang Shrine and emphasizing the Vietnamese Catholics' filial attachment to Christ and to his representative on earth;

Aug 15, 1993

During the World Youth Day in Denver, His Holiness spent one hour with the Vietnamese who were present and entrusted the whole Vietnamese Catholic community to the Blessed Virgin's protection, with the wish that the celebrations for the bicentenary of La Vang might help to reinforce unity and mutual understanding between the Catholics and their fellow countrymen;

Oct 26, 1994

In his General Audience, the Holy Father asked the priests and religious gathered in Rome to study the pastoral needs of the Vietnamese diaspora, to deepen their faith and to cherish the teaching of the Church with a view to preparing the celebration of the bicentenary of La Vang;

Dec 16, 1997

Pope John Paul II issues a letter to Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung of Ha Noi to mark the 200th anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in La Vang.

Aug 1998

200th anniversary of the first apparition of the Lady of La Vang presided by Phan Dinh Tung, archbishop of Hanoi.

April 15, 2008

The local government of Quang Tri province said that it would return nearly all of the land surrounding the basilica of Our Lady of La Vang, which had been seized after the Communist takeover of 1975.


Photo Gallery

No images currently availble from La Vang.


Description of the Virgin

One evening, according to tradition, a lady of great beauty appeared to the refugees in the jungle, clad in white and surrounded by light, holding the infant Jesus in her arms, with two charming boys holding torches at her side. The lady walked back and forth several times in front of the Christians, her feet touching the ground. Even the non-Christians who were there witnessed the vision.


Messages


The lady stopped and addressed the refugees in a sweet voice saying, "My children, what you have asked of me, I have granted you, and henceforth whoever comes to this place to pray to me, I will listen to them." Then she vanished.


Church Approval

Unfortunately, there is no written documentation of these apparitions: such documents were perhaps kept in the Hue church archives, which were destroyed during two local wars: in 1833, under King Minh Mang, and in 1861 in the reign of King Tuduc.

No formal approval
has been given to the apparition of the Our Lady of Lavang- the Vietnamese hierarchy has not offiicially pronounced on the historicity of Mary's apparition at La Vang. The elevation of the church to Basilica status and the visit of Pope John Paul II gives implicit approval to the apparition claim.

On December 16, 1997, Pope John Paul II issued a letter to Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung of Ha Noi to mark the 200th anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in La Vang.

In recent times, the La Vang Shrine has had close relations with the Holy See. John XXIII, after reordering the ecclesiastical circumscriptions of Viet Nam and creating an ecclesiastical hierarchy (24 November 1960), made another gift to the country by granting the title of Minor Basilica (22 August 1961) to the national shrine of La Vang. John Paul II, for his part, has shown many signs of affection for Our Lady of La Vang:

— in the Angelus of Sunday, 19 June 1988, in the list of the most significant Marian shrines he included La Vang, recalling at the same time the 117 Martyrs of Viet Nam who were canonized that same morning, and wishing that the shrine become a symbol of the Church's new vitality and of national reconciliation, without religious distinction;

— in the General Audience of Wednesday, 25 November 1992, the presence of Archbishop Etienne Nguyen Nhu The, the current Archbishop of Hue, gave the Holy Father the opportunity of referring to the La Vang Shrine and emphasizing the Vietnamese Catholics' filial attachment to Christ and to his representative on earth;

— during the World Youth Day in Denver, (15 August 1993), His Holiness spent one hour with the Vietnamese who were present and entrusted the whole Vietnamese Catholic community to the Blessed Virgin's protection, with the wish that the celebrations for the bicentenary of La Vang might help to reinforce unity and mutual understanding between the Catholics and their fellow countrymen;

— in the General Audience of Wednesday, 26 October 1994, the Holy Father asked the priests and religious gathered in Rome to study the pastoral needs of the Vietnamese diaspora, to deepen their faith and to cherish the teaching of the Church with a view to preparing the celebration of the bicentenary of La Vang;

— on 14 December 1996, on the occasion of the ad limina visit of the Vietnamese Bishops, John Paul II again entrusted the country to the protection of the Blessed Virgin, with reference to the spiritual preparation for the forthcoming commemorative celebration of the La Vang apparitions.

Clearly, the Holy See's gestures of affection and participation have increased in view of the approaching celebrations:

— the Apostolic Penitentiary has granted the possibility of earning a plenary indulgence to pilgrims who visit La Vang between 1 January 1998 and 15 August 1999, in other words, during the whole of the Marian Year proclaimed by the local Episcopate;

— in a letter to Archbishop Etienne Nguyen Nhu The of Hue, the Cardinal Secretary of State sent the Apostolic Blessing to the Archdiocese which will prepare for the feast of the 15th of August with a solemn triduum;

— lastly, as long ago as 16 December 1997, His Holiness sent a spiritual Message to Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung, Archbishop of Ha Noi, president of the Episcopal Conference, and appointed him as his Special Envoy for the celebrations.

The Feast Day of Our Lady of Lavang is celebrated on November 22nd.


Prayers

Mother Mary, Our Lady, present us to Jesus, Our Saviour. Mother Mary, lead all souls to Jesus, our Dear Lord who alone redeems and saves. Dear Jesus, free us from the bondage of sin and govern us with Your Love.
Amen

Blessed Lady of Lavang be my mother and comfort me, especially in times of trial and unhappiness. Enter my heart and stay with me wherever I may go. Grant that one day, through you, I may find rest and peace in my Father's house.
Amen


Links

L'Osservatore Romano. The Catholics of Viet Nam Pay Homage to Our Lady of La Vang. Via CatholicCulture.com.

"As Pope visits Lourdes, La Vang Marian Sanctuary expected to receive 100,000 pilgrims". AsiaNews.it (AsiaNews C.F.). 2004-08-12

 

 
   
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