(16th to 19th centuries)
+ Through the missionary efforts of various religious communities, beginning in the sixteenth century and continuing until 1866, the Vietnamese people heard the message of the Gospel and may came to embrace the Faith despite severe persecutions and the thread of death.
+ In 1988, 117 people martyred during the eighteenth century were canonized. Among those honored were bishops, European and Vietnamese priests, and lay people from every walk of life.
+ Included in this group is the Vietnamese priest, Andrew Dung-Lac, who was one of a group of martyrs killed in 1839.
+ The memorial of these martyrs was extended to the Universal Church in 1989. They are honored as the patrons of Vietnam.
For prayer and reflection
“The Vietnamese martyrs, “sowing tears”, in reality began a profound and liberating dialogue with the people and culture of their nation, proclaiming first of all the truth and universality of faith in God, also proposing a hierarchy of values and duties particularly suited to the religious culture of the whole Eastern world. Under the guidance of the first Vietnamese catechism, they bore witness to the fact that it is necessary to worship one God, as the one God who created heaven and earth.”—Pope Saint John Paul II at the canonization of the Martyrs of Vietnam
On this day we also remember Saint Firmina who was martyred in Amelia, Italy, around the year 303.
O God, source and origin of all fatherhood,
who kept the Martyrs Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions
faithful to the Cross of your Son,
even to the shedding of their blood,
grant, through their intercession,
that, spreading your love among our brothers and sisters,
we may be your children both in name and in truth.
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)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.