Memorial of St Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions

Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (21: 5-11) in which Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple.

Fr Paul says, today, we celebrate the memorial of St Andrew Dung-Lac and his Companions.  It is a Vietnamese remembrance day today because the evangelisation of Vietnam began in the 16th Century and there are about 6 million or more Catholics now in Vietnam.

The growth of the faith in Vietnam has come at a terrible cost; missionary clergy, local clergy and ordinary everyday Christians were martyred. They have been killed in one persecution after another with each persecution more savage than the previous one. Over 130,000 Christians were killed over the time of these persecutions.

Since the beginning of the 20th Century, 117 people have lost their lives and they were canonised by John Paul II on 19 June 1988.

Keeping this figure of 117 in mind, in one sense it equates to 96 Vietnamese people, 11 Spanish people and 10 French people, who were put to death.  In another sense, it was 8 bishops, 50 priests and 59 men and women put to death.  Most terrible of all about this 117, seventy-five were beheaded, six were burned alive, twenty-two were strangled, five were torn to pieces and nine died in prison by torture.

So today as we remember St Andrew Dung-Lac and his Companions, Fr Paul says, we ask them to pray for us.