PHOTO GALLERY — See upgrades taking place at Queen of Peace Shrine

Published 12:28 am Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Joseph Pham was busy applying gold leaf to the hem of the robe of the 20-foot statue of the Biblical Mary as construction crews prepared to pour a handicap ramp around the shrine on Ninth Avenue Port Arthur on Monday.

High above Pham’s head under the roof covering the shrine is a newly painted, eye-catching Heavenly scene.

All of this and more are part of renovations to the shrine, Vien Vu, member of Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church said.

The renovations are necessary, he said, due to the damage from storms Delta and Laura last year.

Church leaders decided while doing the rehab work they would also add the handicap ramp, large planters and landscaping.

The Rev. Phillip Tran, the parish priest, mingled among the workers and church members who were on site discussing different aspects of the project.

Tran said, through Vu, that the work is to beautify the city similar to a park.

The shrine is across the street from the church, 801 Ninth Avenue, in an area dubbed Hoa-Binh, or Area of Peace. It features the statue of Mary standing atop a globe holding a rosary, elaborate statues depicting the events of Jesus’ last days on earth, from his condemnation to death and carrying the cross to his death flank the grounds. These are the 14 Stations of the Cross where Catholics pray along the paths as a mini-pilgrimage.

The shrine was dedicated Oct. 9, 1983, and completed Sept. 6, 1986. Renovations were done through the years, according to a corner stone at the shrine. A statue of St. Peter and statue of Vietnamese martyrs were added in 2006 during which time the face of the Fatima statue (Mary) was reconstructed.

In 2009, the statue of Jesus’ resurrection was added and the Stations of the Cross were added in 2010.

A previous parish priest traveled to Vietnam, where he ordered the statues made and had them shipped back to the U.S.

Vu did not have a time frame for completion of the work but said the weather plays a role on which days work can be done.