La Vang (Agenzia Fides) - In 2022 the number of pilgrims visiting the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary in La Vang, in the province of Quang Tri (Archdiocese of Hue), has increased significantly. After two years marred by the Covid pandemic, volunteers from the Archdiocese of Hue have been busy restoring the different areas of the pilgrimage center in La Vang, which in recent days for the Feast of the Assumption of Mary has been visited by more than 50,000 Vietnamese who, from inside and outside the country, arrived at the Shrine, located about 50 km north of the tourist city of Hue, in central Vietnam.
Every year on the Feast of the Assumption, a special event is held there in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who appeared here and promised to save local Catholics from the Vietnamese government's brutal persecution in August 1798 while the faithful hid in the jungle , now known as the "Sacred Land of La Vang". The Virgin helped the believers who lived in misery and fear, afflicted by disease and hunger.
Today, in the same spirit as the faithful of that time, pilgrims turn to the Virgin, asking for salvation from the pandemic and entrusting their lives to Our Lady. With the help of volunteers, pilgrims were able to set up tents on the site of the La Vang Sanctuary and use basic services such as electricity and water to attend on-site prayer vigils and Holy Masses.
In 2022, the central theme presented by Father Dominic Phan Hung was "Mary, Example of Synodality".
The preacher indicated Mary as the first woman "who wonderfully lived the process of synodality": "She was synodal with God's plan, with the Church and with all people in all situations of their lives. She set an example for an unshakable faith in the power of God, for an unshakable hope in the salvific will of the Father, in the merits of the Son and in the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, and for an ardent love," said the priest. Mary also "set the example of how, through fervent prayer, we learn the will of God, contemplating the life of his only begotten Son, and meditating on the word, the deeds, and the sufferings he endured".
The parishes of several dioceses in the country laid wreaths of flowers in honor of Our Lady of La Vang and the faithful prayed the Rosary in communion with the universal Church for the 16th Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in a spirit of synodality.
President of the Vietnamese Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh of Hue, invited the pilgrims "to turn their hearts together to the Mother of La Vang to unite all hearts". "Vietnamese society," he said, "is moving more and more towards synodality, and it is Vietnam's desire to unite all elements, all people for solidarity and for national unity, with the hope that the entire Vietnamese people leads a happy life and people love each other". "Mary - he recalled - is a humble instrument of God and through her God wanted to achieve his intention of synodality. This is why the Virgin Mary accompanies and helps her children, because she is a companion of God and of all of us. She is one loving presence towards her children to protect each of us. It is a grace to be with her". (AD/PA) (Agenzia Fides, 18/8/2022)