In the Diocese of Orange, 2021 was a busy and eventual year marked by acts of joy and reverence.
Several momentous occasions also allowed the Diocese to embrace and celebrate its remarkable diversity — a feat notably achieved with the blessing of the Our Lady of La Vang Shrine at Christ Cathedral. The striking monument, unveiled in July in an event that drew thousands of the faithful and even Papal Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre, depicts the Virgin Mary and serves as a remarkable testament to the journey of Vietnamese Catholics.
The Diocese also celebrated two major expansions — the Cathedral Memorial Gardens cemetery and a new sanctuary for the Christ Our Savior parish — that showed how Catholicism continues to thrive in the county.
Enjoy this recap of 2021, a year of much celebration throughout the Diocese of Orange.
UNVEILING OF THE OUR LADY OF LA VANG SHRINE
The Our Lady of La Vang Shrine was unveiled to an estimated 8,500 onlookers in an elaborate Solemn Blessing Day at the Christ Cathedral campus on Saturday, July 17. The shrine features an Italian marble statue of the Virgin Mary as she is believed to have appeared before a group of persecuted Vietnamese Catholics in Vietnam in 1798.
The multimillion-dollar project took several years of planning and construction before coming to fruition. The shrine remains a work in progress, with finishing touches on the site happening well into 2022.
Since the summer’s Solemn Blessing Day, the Our Lady of La Vang Shrine has become a holy pilgrimage site for many, particularly Vietnamese Catho-lics, who can routinely be seen visiting the shrine and praying in front of the Blessed Mother.
CATHEDRAL MEMORIAL GARDENS EXPANSION AND BLESSING
After an extensive $18.5-million expansion, the Cathedral Memorial Gardens cemetery at Christ Cathedral was blessed by Bishop Kevin Vann and other Diocese leaders on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The expansion took two years to complete. It includes a new mausoleum, cemeteries office and thousands of glass and marble niches.
The grounds, which date to the 1990s when the campus was the Crystal Cathedral under the Rev. Robert Schuller, are now roughly doubled in size. Another highlight of the project is the mausoleum’s new stained glass artwork by artist Elizabeth Devereaux of Jesus Christ’s rising.
BISHOP OF ORANGE KEVIN W. VANN BLESSES THE CATHEDRAL MEMORIAL GARDENS CEMETERY AT CHRIST CATHEDRAL IN GARDEN GROVE ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2021. THE MEMORIAL GARDENS, CREATED IN 1991 UNDER THE REV. ROBERT SCHULLER, UNDERWENT AN $18.5-MILLION EXPANSION DOUBLING THE SIZE SIZE TO 69,150 SQUARE FEET. PHOTO:LEONARD ORTIZ, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER/ SCNG
DEDICATION OF CHRIST OUR SAVIOR
In a historic day, Bishop Kevin Vann dedicated the Diocese’s newest church, Christ Our Savior, in Santa Ana on Saturday, Sept. 11. The 18,500-square-foot sanctuary is architecturally modern, taking some of its design cues from Segerstrom Hall, a fine arts venue in nearby Costa Mesa.
Christ Our Savior’s church was originally planned to be the Diocese’s new cathedral until the Diocese bought the Crystal Cathedral campus in Garden Grove and renovated it. Christ Our Savior’s church seats 1,200 parishioners and was even designed to accommodate Masses in American Sign Language.
FATHER JOE ROBILLARD TELLS STORIES ABOUT WHAT IT TOOK TO BUILD THE NEW CHURCH DURING ITS DEDICATION MASS OF THE NEW CHRIST OUR SAVIOR CATHOLIC CHURCH IN SANTA ANA. THE CHURCH SEATS 1,200 PARISHIONERS AND HAS ANOTHER 50 SEATS FOR THE CHORUS AND MUSICIANS. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE DIOCESE OF ORANGE
OPENING THE NEW ST. MICHAEL’S ABBEY
The new St. Michael’s Abbey was dedicated on Tuesday, May 4. Located in Silverado Canyon with the Santa Ana Mountains as a scenic backdrop, the 125,000-square-foot facility includes a church, monastery, convent, cemetery chapel and administrative building. The abbey is home to the Norbertine Order, which also celebrated its 900th anniversary in 2021. The Silverado location replaced the former abbey site in Trabuco Canyon that was founded by Hungarian priests who fled Communist oppression.
ST. MICHAEL’S ABBY DEDICATED THE CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF THE ASSUMPTION IN SILVERADO, CA ON TUESDAY, MAY 4, 2021. PHOTO: PAUL BERSEBACH, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER/SCNG