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Vietnamese devotion to the Blessed Mother

Thao Vu, a native of Saigon who has lived in Vermont for 15 years (in pink), is a parishioner of St. Mark Church in Burlington. She says Vietnamese Catholics have a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother. (Submitted photo) Thao Vu, a native of Saigon who has lived in Vermont for 15 years (in pink), is a parishioner of St. Mark Church in Burlington. She says Vietnamese Catholics have a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother.
The Vietnamese Catholic community in Vermont has a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother.
 
“We were taught that when we have a hard time with something, you come to her,” explained Thao Vu, a native of Saigon who has lived in Vermont for 15 years. “She helps.”
 
Vu, now an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and religious education teacher at St. Mark Church in Burlington, said most Catholic churches in Vietnam have statues of Our Lady outside with a prayer garden: “Everybody is welcome to sit there and pray and be peaceful.”
 
About 150 members of the Vietnamese Catholic community gather monthly at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Burlington for Mass celebrated by a Vietnamese priest from Canada who also hears confessions.
 
Vu, the mother of two daughters, said in Vietnamese culture mothers are highly respected. “She takes care of the whole family: Mom is the best!”
 
So it makes sense that Vietnamese Catholics revere the Blessed Mother. “The first prayer we have to learn is ‘Hail Mary,’” Vu said, adding that the rosary is a particularly important devotion as is praying the ‘Hail Mary’ for safe travels before taking a trip.
 
Thousands of Vietnamese Catholics from throughout the United States attend the annual Marian Days in Carthage, Mo., each August to celebrate faith and fellowship in honor of the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary and in memory of their homeland.
 
Vu has never attended the event that has taken place since 1978 on the campus of the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix, but she hopes to someday.
 
“If you want something, you ask your mother,” she said, explaining why she asks in prayer for Mary’s intercession. “In my heart my mother has a special place. In [Jesus’] heart He has a special place for His mother. He cannot say no to her, hopefully.”
 
Originally published in the Summer 2017 Vermont Catholic magazine.
 
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