The feast of Vietnamese martyrs comforts persecuted Christians today

The memory of the 130,000 martyrs of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries helps us to face the challenges of consumerism and compromise with power. The prayer for the martyrs of the present times, the Catholics arrested and persecuted by the government in Vinh, Hanoi, Thanh Hóa, Long An, Xuân Lộc, Cà Mau.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – “On my job I suffer injustice because of my faith. But when I think of the martyrs of Vietnam, of these saints who have been faithful and loyal in following Jesus, I feel comforted. They accepted to be condemned and killed rather than to renounce their faith. We are descendants of these martyrs and are called to live the same way. This is why I continue to live and bear witness to my faith at work and in society.”

This is the testimony of one young Catholic to AsiaNews, on the occasion of the feast of the 117 Vietnamese Martyrs, which is celebrated in Vietnam on November 18 (in the universal Church, the feast is November 24).

The awareness of being “descendants of the martyrs” is very much alive among the more than 7 million Catholics in Vietnam and the more than one million expatriates in the world. “We are happy and we honor these 117 martyrs”, continues the young man, “who represent the more than 130,000 of the faithful who were killed for their faith in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These saints are our heroes of the faith.”

Two days ago, in all the churches and chapels of Vietnam, masses were celebrated in honor of the martyrs. And it was an opportunity to reconsider the way Catholics live the faith today.

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/The-feast-of-Vietnamese-martyrs-comforts-persecuted-Christians-today-26401.html

 

St. Andrew Dung Lac and the Vietnamese Martyrs

Today the Church honors 117 Christians who suffered and died for their faith in Vietnam since the 17th century—they stand as representatives for the hundreds of thousands who suffered for their faith in that nation.

The canonized group includes 96 people who were from Vietnam and 21 missionaries from Spain and France; eight were bishops, 50 were priests, and nearly 60 were lay people.

St. Andrew Dung-Lac was a diocesan priest—he was named Dung An Tran when he was born in 1795 in North Vietnam. When he was 12, he moved to Hanoi with his family so his parents could find work. A catechist there offered him food and shelter, and helped him receive an education. Dung was baptized, and chose the name Andrew—he became a catechist himself, teaching others the faith, and eventually was chosen to study for the priesthood. He was ordained in 1823, and was known as an effective preacher and a model of holiness for those he served.

When the emperor began persecuting Christians, Andrew was imprisoned several times, but released when his congregation purchased his freedom. Eventually, though, he was arrested, tortured, and beheaded.

Dominican and Jesuit missionaries were the first to suffer martyrdom in Vietnam—they brought the faith to that land in the 17th century. Since then Christians have suffered under political regimes that suspected the faith as foreign influence.