01/04/2021, 11.21
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La Vang, praying to Mary for peace in 2021

by Paul Nguyen Hung

An online mass, with Vietnamese participating from all over the world, presided over by the archbishop of Huế, Msgr. Joseph Nguyễn Chí Linh. “Our Lady is present in the midst of storms and floods and accompanies us. She is close to us even in the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Huế (AsiaNews) - A solemn mass dedicated to Mary Mother of God and to pray for peace in 2021 was held two days ago at the shrine of Our Lady of La Vang in the central area of ​​the country.

The celebration was presided over by the Archbishop of Huế, Msgr. Joseph Nguyễn Chí Linh, together with hundreds of priests, men and women religious and the bishop emeritus Msgr. Phanxico Xavie Lê Văn Hồng. There were also lay faithful, representatives of the parishes of the archdiocese and other dioceses, but in small numbers, due to the pandemic. For the occasion, after mass, the archbishop met with his priests for the monthly retreat of the clergy.

The sanctuary complex stands on a plain in central Vietnam, in an area not yet reached by the rapid economic development that is transforming the country. It was built in memory of the apparition of the Virgin and Child, which took place over two centuries ago, in 1798 in the forest "Cây Lá Vằng" (The trees of La Vang), in the province of Quảng Trị (in the current territory of archdiocese of Huế).

The Virgin Mary appeared to a group of Vietnamese Catholics who, fleeing persecution, had taken refuge in the forest. Our Lady assured them of comfort and an end to the persecutions, indicating a herb ("La Vang") to cure diseases. Since then the sanctuary has been a pilgrimage destination for Christians, but also for Buddhists and animists, to ask for help and thanks.

In his homily, Msgr. Nguyễn Chí Linh emphasized this universal dimension of prayer to Our Lady of La Vang. "We have come - he said - to thank the Mother of God for the past year. Few of us are here, but with the online broadcast, today's Mass is broadcast on a global scale. Many people and families are connected with us, in communion with the celebration. In the spirit of communion, we not only pray for one another, but through Our Lady of La Vang we ask God to bless everyone in this new year ".

The archbishop then listed the difficulties experienced by the Vietnamese population in the past year: first of all, the floods and deaths in the central provinces of Thừa Thiên Huế, Quảng Trị, and others. “Our Lady is present in the midst of storms and floods and accompanies us. She is close to us even in the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Our Lady - he concluded - understands our needs. We ask you to protect us not only in this celebration, but also after, when we return to our daily life”.

In recent months, a series of storms have caused flooding in central Vietnam, causing hundreds of deaths and missing as well as destroying thousands of homes and crops. The Church, together with the local Caritas, has been close to the affected population.

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