Happy Monday Saints! To start our week off right, our Campus Minister, Father James Dalton, will share a story of a Saint, along with a reflection to help us consider how we can learn from their example.
On June 19, 1988, thousands of Vietnamese gathered at the Vatican for the Canonization of 117 Vietnamese Martyrs of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The Vatican estimates the number of Vietnamese martyrs to be between 130,000 and 300,000. Pope John Paul II decided to canonize those whose names are known and unknown, giving them a single feast day.
We share the memorials of these Vietnamese martyrs with Saint Andrew Dung-Lac on November 24. Andrew was born in Trần An Dũng, Vietnam, in 1795. He took the name Andrew at his baptism (Anrê Dũng) and was ordained a priest on March 15, 1823. During the persecution, Andrew Dũng changed his name to Lạc to avoid capture, and thus he is memorialized as Andrew Dũng-Lạc (Anrê Dũng Lạc).
The Vietnamese Martyrs fall into several groupings, those of the Dominican and Jesuit missionary era of the 18th century and those killed in the politically inspired persecutions of the 19th century. The torture these individuals underwent is considered by the Vatican to be among the worst in the history of Christian martyrdom.
The Catholic Church in Vietnam was devastated during the Tây Sơn rebellion in the late 18th century. However, the missions revived due to cooperation between the French Vicar Apostolic Pigneaux de Behaine and Nguyen Anh. Tolerance continued until the emperor’s death and the new emperor, Minh Mang, succeeded to the throne in 1820.
Converts began to be harassed without official edicts in the late 1820s by local governments. In 1831 the emperor passed new laws on religious groupings in Vietnam, and Catholicism was officially prohibited.
Catholic villages were forced to build shrines to the state cult. The amount of money that the French mission societies were able to raise made the missionaries a lucrative target for officials that wanted cash. This created a cycle of extortion and bribery which lasted for years.
You can learn more about St. Andrew Dung-Lac here: loom.ly/QWdNNwU
Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and the Vietnamese martyrs, pray for us.