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Orange county brings larger-than-life marble statue of Our Lady to Vietnamese community


A piece of Vietnam will soon be arriving in the Diocese of Orange county, the home of the largest Vietnamese population outside of the Vietnam itself. It will come in the form of this 12-foot statue of Our Lady of La Vang. 

It will be a main point of interest at the new glass Catholic Christ Cathedral, to be dedicated on July 17, 2019. 

The statue of Our Lady of La Vang will arrive in the fall 2019, and it will be dedicated later on. The Vietnamese auxilary bishop of Orange county came to Carrara, Italy, to check the progress of the statue that represents freedom for so many Vietnamese Catholics. 

BISHOP THANH THAI NGUYEN
Auxilary bishop, Orange County
“It is important because the story of Our Lady of La Vang connected to the history of the Church, and the suffering of our people during the end of the 18th century. A lot of Christians were persecuted by the king. So they fled to the to the forest. There they had the Marian apparition of Our Lady of La Vang.” 

The bishop has his own reason to thank the Blessed Mother, escaping from Vietnam by boat in 1979 seeking freedom. He and 25 others prayed the rosary day and night, soon ran out of food and water on board. He believes Mary helped them and says many others have told him their miracle stories too. 

BISHOP THANH THAI NGUYEN
Auxilary bishop, Orange County
“Many of them share with me their story, very, very moving story that they wanted to come back and to thank God through the intercession of Mary. This statue of Our Lady of La Vang to be located in Christ the King campus is an opportunity for many people, especially the Vietnamese people, to have an opportunity to thank God for their life, for whatever blessing they have received.”

The statue's designer and artist from Orange County also came to Italy, to see how his vision has been materialized. He is looking forward to having the statue in California and is pleased with the progress.

ANH NGHI
Statue's Designer
“I believe it will be a big day for all our Vietnamese community there, with Our Lady of La Vang.” “I think they did a great job. I cannot believe it. It turned out so good. I think with a little touch ups, it's ready to go.”

The small changes began immediately, led by Andrea. He is from a pair of brothers who run this marble family business. He has more than 30 years of experience and says this is one of the most beautiful pieces he's ever been able to create.

ANDREA CECCARELLI
Sculpturer
“This is a piece of greatness, not only on a level of how tall it is, but also on a level of quality, the expressions, and that feelings that allow one to realize its great value.”

Orange County's relationship with “The Italian Marble Co.” began last year. Thus, the statue started taking shape this past winter, with the white marble being extracted from the nearby mountains.

RENATO CAMPI
Italian Marble Co.
“We started looking for the block of marble and it was quite difficult to find. This is due to the measurements, quality and characteristics in finding the statue. We still have to make the two bases for the statue and the large size is definitely outside the norm.”

After viewing the outlines for the bases on the computer, all were able to chose the best way to complete Our Lady. Bishop Thanh and Anh explained the final touches that need to be made and graciously thanked the workers who have materialized their dream to honor Our Lady of La Vang.