our readings today are Revelation 18; Psalm 100 and Lk. 21: 20-28
On November 24th the Church celebrates the feast of the Vietnamese Martyrs, a feast that was established by the Pope St. John Paul II in 1988.
The persecution of the faithful in Vietnam is divided into two main periods: those who were killed during the 18th century when the Jesuits and Dominican orders spread the faith throughout the country: and those who were persecuted and killed in the 1820s and 30s, following the ascent to the throne of Minh Mang.
The tortures endured by the Vietnamese martyrs are considered by the Church to be among the worst in the history of Christian martyrdom. The torturers hacked off limbs joint by joint, tore flesh with red hot tongs, and used drugs to derange the minds of the victims. Christians during this time were branded on the face with the words "tả đạo" literally. "Left (Sinister) religion" and many Catholic families and villages were killed and destroyed. It is thought that at least 130,000 persons were martyred.
By the 1840s, the persecutions diminished, but often bribes had to be paid to ensure the safety of the clergy and laity.
The blood shed by the martyrs was not in vain, though, and we can witness how the faith still was passed on from one generation, so much so that in our Archdiocese we have a thriving Vietnamese parish, with many priests, and one Bishop, Bishop Vincent Nguyen, serving here.
Holy Martyrs of Vietnam, pray for us.