By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated with prayer, dance, procession, Mass and a reception Aug. 16 at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
The Vietnamese Catholic community gathered the day after the solemnity in the courtyard alongside the cathedral. There, Father Thang Hoang, SVD, incensed two statues of Our Lady of LaVang, one of which was carried in a procession into the cathedral. The other statue is a permanent fixture in the courtyard.
Fr. Hoang is one of several priests affiliated with Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa, who serve the Vietnamese community in Davenport. The cathedral does not have a resident priest who speaks Vietnamese.
Each year members of the Vietnamese community honor Mary (Our Lady of LaVang), who they believe gave them hope during the persecution of Catholics in Vietnam from 1798-1886. Mary appeared to the people to help them through crisis, disease, poverty, hunger and oppression by the local government, said Lien Truong of the Vietnamese Catholic community.
In the courtyard following the blessing of the statues, young girls performed a traditional dance, readings were proclaimed and the community processed into the cathedral. A reception was held after Mass.