It’s happening Saturday in the Diocese of Orange, at Christ Cathedral: 

The Our Lady of La Vang Shrine at the world-famous Christ Cathedral campus in Garden Grove serves as a testament to the remarkable journey of the Vietnamese-American people — from war and persecution to a new reality where faith and community are vibrant and ascendant. The centerpiece of the shrine is a statue of the Virgin Mary as she is believed to have appeared before a group of persecuted Vietnamese Catholics in 1798. During that historic Marian apparition, which took place in a remote rainforest region in Vietnam, the Blessed Mother offered the desperate parishioners hope and guidance. In the centuries since, Our Lady of La Vang, as the apparition has since been named, has represented hope, faith and promise to Vietnamese Catholics around the world.

The $12.6-million shrine represents both that historic apparition and honors the important contributions of the Vietnamese-Catholic diaspora in Orange County, which is home to the world’s largest population of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam. The shrine, modern in design like Christ Cathedral behind it, features an alpha-shaped ribbon of stainless steel panels under a glass-paned roof.

Standing on a cloud, Mary is depicted wearing a traditional Vietnamese áo dài dress and khăn đống hat. She has a Eurasian face and holds the Baby Jesus. Behind her are three supporting poles that hold up the canopy-like structure, which itself symbolizes the rainforest setting of the 1798 Marian apparition. The poles resemble the three banyan trees that were behind the Virgin Mary during the apparition.

The shrine also contains donor names and the names of 117 Catholics who were martyred for their religious beliefs in Vietnam. The names detail how and when each person died. Aaron Torrence of Culver City-based Torrence Architects is the project’s architect of record, and Trần Quốc Trung of GlobalSolutions Development is the design architect.

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More about Our Lady of La Vang: 

Although not formally recognized by the Vatican, Our Lady of La Vang’s to the Vietnamese people importance has been widely recognized.

Fearing the spread of Catholicism, the Cảnh Thịnh emperor restricted the practice of Catholicism in Vietnam in 1798. Soon after, he issued an anti-Catholic edict and a brutal persecution began. Many people sought refuge in the rainforest of La Vang in Quảng Trị Province, Vietnam, and many became very ill. While hiding in the jungle, the community gathered every night at the foot of a tree to pray the Rosary.

One night, an apparition of the Blessed Mother dressed in the traditional Vietnamese áo dài, holding the infant Jesus in her arms, and flanked by two angels appeared to them in the branches of the tree. She comforted them and told them to boil leaves from the trees for medicine to cure their illnesses.

In 1802 the Christians returned to their villages, passing on the story of the apparition in La Vang and its message. As the story of the apparition spread, many went to pray at the site. In 1820, a chapel was built.

She is the patroness of Vietnam and of the Vietnamese Diaspora.

And there’s this:

The history of the Lady of La Vang continues to gain greater significance as more claims from people whose prayers were answered were validated. In April of 1961, the Council of Vietnamese Bishops selected the Holy church of La Vang as the National Sacred Marian Centre. In August of 1962, Pope John XXIII elevated the Church of La Vang to The Basilica of La Vang. On June 19, 1988, Pope John Paul II in the canonizing ceremony of the 117 Vietnamese martyrs, publicly and repeatedly recognized the importance and significance of the Lady of La Vang and expressed a desire for the rebuilding of the La Vang Basilica to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the first apparition of the Lady of La Vang in August of 1998.

Photo: Diocese of Orange