La Vang Holy Land has long become a famous destination in Quang Tri, not only for Catholics but also for non-Catholics and international tourists. Visiting La Vang holy land, walking around the campus you will feel the comfort and coolness of the big old trees. Sitting in front of the statue of The Lady to find inner peace, or ask for water at the holy well of La Vang to pray for peace and happiness.
Where is La Vang Holy Land?
La Vang Holy Land is located in an ancient area called Dinh Cat, belongs to Hai Phu commune, Hai Lang district, Quang Tri province today. La Vang is about 6km south of Quang Tri Citadel and 60km north of Hue city. La Vang Holy Land is the Marian’s national center of the Vietnamese Catholic Church. Every year, millions of people go on a pilgrimage to Our Lady in this sacred place.
Legend of La Vang Holy Land
According to a folk story, in the reign of King Canh Thinh of Tay Son Dynasty had a policy against Catholicism. In order to avoid the punishment of the Tay Son Dynasty, many parishioners in the Quang Tri region fled to this land. This is a remote mountainous area, in order to communicate with each other, they have to “scream” loudly, and “loud” to be “sound”. The name La Vang was named from that.
Another explanation is that when parishioners ran to this land. When there was an epidemic, at that time Our Lady appeared and instructed them to look for a leaf called “lá văng” – drinking it the disease will be cured . Write unsigned “lá văng” to La Vang.
According to the document of the Archbishopric of Hue – 1998, during the reign of King Canh Thinh (enthroned in 1792), with a decree banning of religion on August 17, 1798, some of the faithful people near Dinh Cat hill had to find a place to hide. They took refuge in the mountains of La Vang.
In the sacred forest with poisonous water, poor conditions, lack of food, disease, fear of military officers, fear of wild animals, believers can only trust in God and Our Lady. They often gather together under the ancient banyan tree, together to pray, comfort and help each other.
One day, while they were praying together, they suddenly saw a beautiful woman with a wide robe, holding the Child Jesus in her arms, with two angels holding lamps on both sidea. They immediately recognized the Virgin Mary. She showed kindness, tenderness, and comfort to the believers who were willing to work hard.
She taught them to pick a kind of leaves available around there, boil water to drink to cure diseases. She made another promise: “I have accepted your request. From now on, whoever comes to pray to me in this place, I will accept the grace of my will.” After that, she appeared many times to support and comfort her children in need.
Since then, the event of Our Lady’s appearance in the mountains of La Vang, through the generations, has been spread everywhere. And many people who sincerely believe, come to pray to the Mother and receive grace according to their wishes. Our Lady of La Vang is often symbolized by a woman wearing the Vietnamese Ao Dai
Visiting La Vang Holy Land
La Vang Church was originally built on the foundation of a temple to worship the Buddha (probably Buddha Ba Quan Am or Princess Lieu Hanh), originally a thatched roof under a banyan tree and fenced on four sides. After the apparition of Mary in 1789, it was given to the faithful to build a place to honor Mary.
In the center of the Holy Land, it stills remains the relic of the bell tower of the Basilica of Our Lady of La Vang. This work was built from 1924 – 1929, restored in 1959. In the summer of 1972, the Basilica was destroyed by war, only the bell tower ruins.
On August 15, 2012, the first ceremony took place to build the new Basilica. In terms of size, this is the largest work of the Vietnamese Church ever. The church is designed in the style of traditional Asian Asian architecture in Vietnam, with a capacity of up to 5,000 people.
At the supposed location where Our Lady appeared near the old banyan tree, a magnificent monument was built with the image of three banyan trees and Our Lady of La Vang in the middle. And the statue of Our Lady was also built in various places in the Holy Land. Our Lady is often represented by the image of a woman wearing a Vietnamese’s ao dai holding a baby who is also wearing traditional Vietnamese clothing.
In front of the bell tower of the Basilica of Our Lady is a large square. On both sides of the square is the Cross’s Way – a series of 14 sculptures depicting the progression of Jesus’ passion, from his condemnation to his crucifixion and finally his burial.
In addition, on the grounds of the Holy Land, there is a well of Our Lady of La Vang, where each believer coming here takes a sip of water to respect to Our Lady. Many believers trust that well water has the ability to cure diseases in the body.
Coming to La Vang Holy Land, people feel like they are liberated from the worries in mundane life, and are relieved of the difficulties in life. When leaving, visitors feel at ease as they are comforted, protected and encouraged to build a better life together.