By CBSLA Staff

GARDEN GROVE (CBSLA) – Christ Cathedral will celebrate its second anniversary as the Diocese of Orange’s main cathedral Saturday with the unveiling of a shrine reflecting the faithful in Vietnam.

The Our Lady of La Vang Shrine is a statue of the Virgin Mary. Roman Catholics believe she appeared in 1798 to a group of Catholics in a Vietnam rainforest.

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“This shrine to Our Lady of La Vang is not only another example of how beauty draws to God, but it is a testimony to the faith of our Vietnamese brothers and sisters who have contributed so much to the life of our parishes here in Orange County, and which then points us all to the Mother of God and her protection,” Diocese of Orange Bishop Kevin Vann said.

The Solemn Blessing Day ceremony is expected to be attended by thousands of Orange County Catholics.

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“The Vietnamese community in Orange County and I are very excited to have this shrine of Our Lady of La Vang to be solemnly blessed,” Bishop Thanh Thai Nguyen said. “Remembering the blessings received from her intercessions, we desire to honor her with a special place to express our deep appreciation to her past accompaniment and to petition her to continue journeying with us in our pilgrimage of life. Our hearts are filled with joy and gratitude as we look forward to seeing Our Lady of La Vang here on our beautiful Christ Cathedral campus.”

The 12-foot-tall shrine weighs about 16,000 pounds and was carved from white marble from Italy, officials said. The $12.6 million statue took about 18 months to sculpt and will be placed in the northeast corner of the Christ Cathedral campus.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)