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OC’s Vietnamese Catholics building new shrine to their Virgin Mary

A rendering of the shrine to Our Lady of La Vang under construction at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove.
A rendering of the shrine to Our Lady of La Vang under construction at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove.
Courtesy Torrence Architects

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange has broken ground on a multimillion-dollar shrine at the Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove honoring their version of the Virgin Mary.

Many Vietnamese believe Our Lady of La Vang appeared in a vision to their ancestors who were fleeing religious persecution in Vietnam.

The shrine marks a major milestone for Vietnamese Catholics in Orange County, home to the largest population outside of Vietnam. Among OC’s community of 100,000 Vietnamese Catholics are those who fled the war-devastated country after the Communist takeover ended the conflict in 1975.

The new shrine acknowledges that history and the difficult journey that brought Vietnamese church members to the U.S. where they could freely practice their faith.

Aaron Schrank covers religion, international affairs and the Southern California diaspora under a grant from the Luce Foundation.