07/03/2007, 00.00
VIETNAM
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Preparations underway for pilgrimage to La Vang

by JB. VU
Catholics but also Buddhists visit the shrine which commemorates the 1798 apparition. They seek help from the Mother but also protection for themselves, their families and their children.

Quảng Trị (AsiaNews) – Preparations for the August 15 pilgrimage to the National Marian Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang ((Ðức Mẹ La Vang), in the central province of Quảng Trị, are well underway. The shrine commemorates a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary who was seen there in 1798, a year when the country was hit by conflict and typhoons. In the 1970s war once again devastated the region but the shrine survived, protecting the people and Church of Vietnam.

“Whether they are Catholic or Buddhist people with problems come to the Mother for their families and children,” a local official told AsiaNews. “They believe in the Mother and the Vatican itself recognised the historic fact.”

“At the time of King Canh Trịnh a law banned Catholics. His soldiers came and arrested them; they were tortured and killed,” a local said. “In 1972 the war was really cruel. We were really miserable but we believe in Our Lady and She protects us.”

“In August every year thousands of people come in pilgrimage to show their faith,” a young man said. “We pray to Mother La Vang to help us overcome difficulties, sadness, shortcomings and challenges in our lives. When I pray I feel I can overcome any obstacle.”

”When I see so many people pray to the Mother of La Vang,” a Buddhist bus driver said, “I feel strong emotions. I, too, pray to her and She has helped me, my family and my children, I, too, come every year.”

Finally, a young woman notes that “despite their unhappiness, Catholics and others rely a lot on our Lady of La Vang. With her Vietnamese heart she has protected and still protects the people and the Church.”

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