LE_ME_LT_CAssumption of Mary, Year C

Rev 11:19a; 12:1-6, 10ab; 1Cor 15:20-27; Lk 1:39-56

Introduction: This is a homily/Scripture reflection in a book, titled: ‘Every Week God Speaks We Respond’ Cycle C, intended to be published in the future by Reverend John Tran Binh Trong. It was published in Vietnamese in the US 2009 and republished in Viet Nam 2012. To keep the author’s writing style, this homily has not been edited and may not be by a hired hand.

However, if readers like to point out mistake(s) in spelling and grammar, it would be greatly appreciated by the author whose English is not his mother tongue and who did not live in the US until his adulthood. Passive sentences are used intentionally in this context to avoid using the first personal pronoun ‘I’ when applicable, that might be associated with any idea of egotism, in accord with the French saying, known as: ‘Le moi est haissable’ (The ego is detestable).

Besides two well-known sites where Mary appeared: Lourdes in France and Fatima in Portugal, Mary also appeared at different places in the world to counsel her children to live according to the way of God or to console them when they faced trials, sufferings and persecutions. In Vietnam in 1798, Mary appeared at La Vang to console and encourage the faithful who were persecuted for their faith under the rule of Emperor Canh Thinh.

Under persecutions and pressures to abandon their faith, the faithful fled to the forest of La Vang. They did not have enough food, drink and sleep. They were afraid of wild animals and snakes, especially soldiers going after them. They prayed to Mary because they suffered from persecutions and illness. The Lady appeared with her kind and affectionate countenance. According to one legend, Mary told them to pick ‘lá vằn’ leaves, pronounced in Quang Tri’s accent as ‘lá vằng’, and boil them and drink for healing. Later on, Lá Vằng was pronounced as La Vang. According to another legend, when people saw tigers, they shouted aloud to chase them away.

According to one reasoning of a layperson of Cổ Thạch [2], Quảng Trị Province, who recorded that when a person shouted, his voice echoed back from the forest. That was why they called this place La Vang, meaning shouting out and echoing back. This person went to La Vang to make an experiment and proved that her voice shouted and echoed back from the forest.

The bishops of Hue, both French and Vietnamese, had built a church at La Vang at four different times. Then, the Catholic bishops of Vietnam rebuilt the church in 1961. Destroyed by the war in 1972, the church was rebuilt temporarily in 1998 with financial help from overseas Vietnamese in order to celebrate the 200 anniversary of Mary’s appearance.

In the year of 1901, the statue of Our Lady of La Vang was adopted from the statue of Our Lady of Victory in the Basilica of Notre Dame in Paris. Also in that year, Bishop Gasper blessed the statue of La Vang and named Our Lady of La Vang, patron saint of the faithful of Vietnam. It is noted the title of our Lady, helper of Christians was added to the litany of Mary.

Church and civil officials had visited and prayed at our Lady of La Vang church such as Queen Nam Phương, Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Agagianian - Envoy of Pope John XXIII - and many other Vietnamese bishops, beginning from Bishop Nguyen Bá Tòng, first Vietnamese Bishop of Vietnam.

The conferences of our Lady of La Vang were organized in 1904, 1914, 1932, 1934 and 1961. In 1961, the Catholic Bishops of Vietnam decided to build a new basilica of La Vang as the National Shrine of Vietnam, dedicated to Mary. At the end of La Vang Conference in 1961, Pope John XXIII granted a decree making the church of La Vang a shrine [3].

On the canonization of 117 martyrs from Vietnam in 1988, Pope John Paul II reminded the Vietnamese faithful not to forget the Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang, which was dedicated to Mary. On the feast of the Holy martyrs of Viet Nam 1992, the Pope also spoke: ‘I offer the Vietnamese community to Mary, Queen of the Martyrs, honored for almost two hundred years there and I wish for the people of Vietnam to live and grow in freedom and peace, so that they can participate in building and developing the nation’.

On the Solemnity of Mary the Assumption in 1993, the Pope spoke clearer: ‘I offer the whole community of Vietnam to the intercession of our Lady of La Vang. She the gentle mother appeared in 1798 to console her children under persecutions in the rule of Emperor Canh Thinh’.

In 1994, the same Pope blessed a statue of our Lady of La Vang at Saint Peter Square and the statue has been carried to different overseas Vietnamese Catholic communities so that people could pray to. In 1996, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of the Vatican State sent these words in the name of the Holy Father to the conference of pilgrimage at La Vang: ‘The Holy Father is sharing your joy in communion of your prayers with the Archdiocese of Hue and with the whole country of Vietnam, also in communion of prayers with the shepherds, travelling with the faithful to La Vang, to honor and praise Mary, consoler and supporter of them in the times of difficulties and trials. The Pope himself also encourages the faithful to live faithfully and courageously’.

In 1999, Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza with a committee delegation of the US bishops visited Vietnam and La Vang. After he had read a summary of the history of Mary’s appearance at La Vang, Bishop Fiorenza, representing the US bishops in America accepted our Lady of La Vang to be mother of the Church and people of America.

With his different visits and prayers at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in Washington, DC, Father John Trần Bình Trọng of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia observed 59 small chapels in honor of our Lady, appearing in different parts of the world or in honor of certain saints. Reading a short history and praying a prayer related to Mary’s appearance or  different saints recorded on a kneeler in each chapel, Father Trọng had an idea of having our Lady of La Vang chapel to be built here.


Chapel of Our Lady of La Vang in the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in Washington, DC.

In 1999, Father Trọng initiated the idea of having our Lady of La Vang chapel to be built at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Interested in the idea, Msgr Mai Thanh Luong of the National Pastoral Center for the Vietnamese Apostolate, Member of the Pastoral Care: Migration and Refugees of the NCCB, began to ask permission from the Conference of the American bishops to build a chapel of Our Lady of La Vang at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. The plan was presented to the Board of Directors of the Shrine for approval. Representatives of the Board of the Shrine supervised the construction works. The cost was paid by the Federation of Vietnamese Catholics in America.

Our Lady of La Vang chapel was dedicated October 21, 2006 in a solemn mass celebrated by the Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Immaculate Conception Shrine. The dedication mass was concelebrated by the Most Reverend Mai Thanh Luong, Auxiliary Bishop of Orange and over one hundred Vietnamese priests and almost five thousands Catholics from many states, even as far as from Massachusetts, Mississippi, Texas and California. That was the last space in the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception made available for our Lady of La Vang chapel. Some other countries could only hang a painting of Mary on the wall.

Where were messages of our Lady of La Vang? The first message of our Lady of La Vang was: Keep faith, be willing to suffer persecutions for the love of God. The second message was: Your prayers have been accepted. The third message was: From now on, whoever implores at this place, their prayers will be heard.

Prayer to Our Lady of La Vang: [4]

Oh, Mary, Holy Mother of La Vang, filled with grace and crowned in splendor.

You are above all the angels and saints in heaven.

None can compare to you.

God graciously chose you, a pure and holy maiden,

to be the mother of the Savior of the world.

Oh Mary, you appeared at La Vang, amid the pain and misery of war and persecutions,

to help our Catholic and non-Catholic ancestors.

From the first moment, you poured your blessisngs,

spiritual and physical, upon the sick and the sorrowful who had recourse to you.

Oh Mary, Holy Mother of La Vang, Mother of God and our most loving Mother,

pour out your abundant blessings upon your children

who earnestly implore you.

Give us a heart of compassion and charity to build a culture of love and life.

Help us to live lives of virtue and hope,

so that we may enjoy eternal life and the happiness of the Trinity

with you for all eternity. Amen.

John Trần Bình Trọng


[1]. On the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, Cycle C, homilies on Cycle A or B may be used, instead of Cycle C.

[2]. Ideas from the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th paragraphs were borrowed from written materials in Vietnamese, of Msgr Tran Van Hoai, Msgr Nguyen Van Tai and Father Tran Van Kiem.

[3]. A person who made an experiment by recording her voice, shouted out and echoed back from the forest and mountain, was Dr Nguyen Thi Thanh of Co Thach village as to prove why this place was called La Vang.

[4]. Prayer to our Lady of La Vang, translated from ‘Kinh Thánh Mẫu La Vang’ written on the kneeler at our Lady of La Vang Chapel in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.

Hằng tuần Chúa Nói Ta Đáp, Năm A đã được xuất bản tại Hoa Kì và được xuất bản lần 2 tại Việt Nam. Lời giới thiệu về sách được ghi ở Mục: Sách của Tác giả trang chủ cuối cột 1 ___________________

Every Week God Speaks – We Respond, Cycle A was published Online in the US. The introduction of the book is recorded at “Sách của Tác giả Chủ trương, Column 1.

Hằng tuần Chúa Nói Ta Đáp, Năm B đã được xuất bản tại Hoa Kì và được xuất bản lần 2 tại Việt Nam. Lời giới thiệu về sách được ghi ở Mục: Sách của Tác giả trang chủ cuối cột 1

  Hằng tuần Chúa Nói Ta Đáp, Năm C đã được xuất bản tại Hoa Kì và được xuất bản lần 2 tại Việt Nam. Lời giới thiệu về sách được ghi ở Mục: Sách của Tác giả trang chủ, cuối cột 1.


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Năm 2022: Đồng hành với người trẻ trong đời sống Giáo hội và xã hội.


Năm Thánh Giu-se: Nhân kỷ niệm 150 năm Đức Giáo hoàng Pio IX chọn thánh Giuse làm Đấng Bảo Trợ Giáo Hội Công Giáo, Đức Phanxicô đã ban hành Tông thư “Patris corde” – Trái tim của người Cha – và công bố “Năm đặc biệt về thánh Giuse” từ ngày 8/12/2020 đến ngày 8/12/2021. Để biết thêm ý nghĩa và áp dụng vào hoàn cảnh VN, xin nhấn vào đường dẫn này:



Năm “Gia đình Amoris Laetitia” 2021 về “Vẻ đẹp và niềm vui của tình yêu gia đình” do Bộ Giáo Dân, Gia Đình và Sự Sống tổ chức, được Đức Phanxicô khai mạc dịp Lễ Thánh Giuse 19/ 3/ 2021 và bế mạc ngày 26/6/2022 trong dịp Hội Ngộ Thế Giới các Gia Đình lần thứ 10 diễn ra tại Roma. Để biết thêm ý nghĩa và áp dụng, xin nhấn vào đường dẫn này:



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