Cardinal Filoni at the Shrine of La Vang entrusts the work of evangelization to the Virgin
La Vang – “As a pilgrim – also on behalf of our Missionary Congregation – I beg of Mary her protection for the work of evangelization throughout the world: she who bore Jesus, the living Gospel, the Word of God, and who has accompanied the Church from the Day of Pentecost, being thus the Mother of countless children of the Church, especially in the Continent of Asia. For this reason, I bring you the gift today of three silver roses as a perpetual memorial of this request to her”. This is what Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples said during the Mass he presided on 22 January, at the National Marian Shrine of La Vang.
Beating heart of faith and Marian spirituality in Vietnam, the Shrine of La Vang, about 60 km from Hue, is linked to the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the forest near Quang Tri to a group of Vietnamese Catholics fleeing persecution, who had taken refuge there. The first apparition took place in 1798, which was followed by many others. In 1886, when the persecutions ended, a small wooden church was built on-the-spot, which became a place of intense pilgrimages. Subsequently burnt by the persecutors, the church was replaced by a brick building which was inaugurated in 1901 when Our Lady of La Vang was proclaimed “Patroness of Vietnamese Catholics”. To contain the ever-increasing flow of devotees, several chapels were built. But the various constructions of La Vang were demolished completely in 1972, during the war between the North and the South. Only after the reunification of the country , the Bishops of Vietnam gathered in Hanoi on 1 May 1980 and solemnly renewed the recognition of La Vang as “National Marian Centre”. Today the Marian Shrine is one of the best known and popular Shrines not only in Vietnam, but in the entire Asian continent.
In his homily, the Cardinal invited those present to go back to the foot of the Cross, where “Jesus has made a gift of Mary to us, he stressed – and not a gift that is far away from us, because, over the course of two thousand years, Mary has often appeared in our midst… You know the beautiful story of the first persecuted Christians, who found refuge, encouragement, and protection in this place. One could say that Mary lives here, and the Bishops have rightly declared this place to be the National Marian Shrine”.
The Cardinal, therefore concluded thanking Mary for this, her “gift”, which is her presence among you; “She is here with us today, and together with you, I renew the Act of Entrustment to her for the Evangelization of this Land and of the whole Asian Continent”.
Link correlati :The full text of the Cardinal’s speech, in Italian
The full text of the Cardinal’s speech, in English
The full text of the Cardinal’s speech, in French