For the Vietnamese Catholic faithful in the United States, there are several different annual Marian Days throughout the year, such as in Carthage, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; and Las Vegas, Nevada. The Vietnamese faithful in Orange County always attend Marian Days in the above-mentioned places. Being aware of this need for an opportunity closer to home, Bishop Kevin Vann and Bishop Thanh Thai Nguyen felt that we should do something at Christ Cathedral campus.
FR. BAO THAI RECEIVES A GIFT FROM BISHOP KEVIN VANN ON HIS FIRST DAY AS RECTOR OF CHRIST CATHEDRAL, FRIDAY JULY 1. PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVEN GEORGES/DIOCESE OF ORANGE
Marian Days offers Catholics an opportunity to come together to pray, to walk in the Marian Procession while praying the Holy Rosary around the Cathedral campus and to participate in Masses with the bishops of the Diocese of Orange, along with its choir of more than 800 voices. We give thanks to God for bestowing upon us many blessings through the intercession of Our Lady of La Vang Shrine—and that is the main theme this year, “With Mary, Giving Thanks to God.”
Marian Days also provides exceptional faith formation opportunities from nationally recognized speakers who address relevant topics of faith, catechesis, education, theology, Mariology, prayer and liturgy. Participants truly walk together in Faith by attending these significant keynote addresses, participating in adoration and confession in Christ Cathedral, listening to Christian musical performances and visiting the magnificent Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang and the beautiful art around the Cathedral campus.
Christ Cathedral was dedicated on July 17, 2019, after six years of renovations. Our Lady of La Vang Shrine was blessed on July 17, 2021. There were 10,000 faithful who gathered at the foot of the Blessed Virgin Mary to worship their Triune God. Since then, Holy Mass has been celebrated at the Shrine on the very first Saturday of each month. There are over 1,000 faithful who attend monthly. There are 57 parishes and five centers in the Diocese. Among them, we have 16 parishes that offer Vietnamese Masses and Ministries. Each Vietnamese community from the 16 parishes takes turn to serve the Monthly First Saturday. On July 1 and 2, all the Vietnamese in the Diocese came together with Bishop Vann, Bishop Freyer and Bishop Nguyen, to make the successful inaugural Marian Days at Christ Cathedral campus possible.
Marian Days consisted of two days, Friday and Saturday. On Friday we focused on the English-speaking faithful, especially youth and young adults. We began with a youth rally in English in the school gym, followed by opening Mass in English at the Shrine celebrated by Bishop Timothy Freyer, and Young Adult Praise and Worship in English in the gym. We also had a keynote speaker addressing the Marian Days’ theme in Vietnamese at the Shrine to commence the inaugural Marian Days.
Additionally, people visited the food court area for their dinner and entertainment. There was music and dance performances by well-known Vietnamese singers and local organizations. Others visited ministries and vocations’ booths for information on how to get involved.
Saturday began with the Healing Mass inside the Christ Cathedral, followed by a healing prayer service, Eucharistic Adoration and individual confessions.
The highlight of Marian Days was the Vietnamese workshop on a variety of topics for both youth and adults presented by well-known Vietnamese speakers, including professors teaching at seminary and retreat masters. Having two tracks parallel allowed parents to enjoy their Vietnamese sessions while their Vietnamese American born children attended the English ones.
The climax of the second day was the grand Marian procession around Christ Cathedral campus. We started from the Shrine, entered Chapman Avenue, and turned to the Lewis Street and back to the Shrine.
Almost 15,000 people attended Marian Days and had the opportunity to gather, renew their faith in God and review or learn the teachings of the Church — particularly the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
We look forward to your participation at the next Marian Days event on July 14–15, 2023, with the theme, “With Mary, We Journey” at the Our Lady of La Vang Shrine.