+ Zhang Dapeng was born in Duyun, Guizhou Province, China, and was remembered as a bright child and was attracted to Taoism in his youth.
+ In 1794, he moved to Guiyang and entered the silk business. It was there, through a business contact, that he was introduced to Christianity. Because he had a concubine, however, he was unable to become a Christian, despite his attraction to the Faith.
+ In 1800, against strong opposition from his family and business associates, he left his concubine and was baptized, receiving the name Joseph.
+ His business suffered because of his conversion and he eventually began a ministry of preaching and teaching, converting his house into a small school of religion. He would go on to become a catechist.
+ During the anti-Christian persecutions led by the White Lotus Cult, Joseph was betrayed by his brother-in-law and was arrested. He was imprisoned with Saint Peter Wu Gousheng, with whom Joseph ministered to other prisoners.
+ Joseph was offered his freedom if he would denounce his Christian faith. After he refused he was executed on March 12, 1815, in Guiyang, Guizhou.
+ Saint Joseph Zhang Dapeng was canonized with other Martyrs of China in 2000.
For prayer and reflection
“This holy man fought to the death for the law of his God and did not fear the words of the godless, for he was built on solid rock.”—Entrance Antiphon for the Mass of One Martyr
Almighty and merciful God, who brought your Martyr blessed Joseph to overcome the torments of his passion, grant that we, who celebrate the day of his triumph, may remain invincible under your protection against the snares of the enemy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.