Alleluia Revelations 2: 10c
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel LK 21:5-11
While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here– the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”
Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”
"Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelations 2: 10C)
St. Andrew Dung-Lac was born in 1795 in Bac-Nihh in North Vietnam. He was named Tran An Dung by his pagan parents. His parents left Bac-Nihh to find work in the city of Hanoi. Tran An Dung was 12 years old when they moved to Hanoi. He was taught by a Catholic catechist for three years and was baptized into the Catholic faith and given a Christian name, Andrew. Andrew (Anre) continued his education, learning Chinese and Latin, and then he became a catechist.
Andrew was chosen to study theology and he became a priest in 1823 and later a pastor. His parishioners loved him and he drew his congregation to him by his preaching, fasting and moral life. They loved him so much that when he was arrested and put in prison in 1835, during the persecution under the Emperor Minh-Mang, they paid his ransom from their donations. During the reign of Minh-Mang, many Vietnamese Catholics suffered unspeakable persecutions.
In 1832 the Emperor Minh-Mang threw out all foreign missionaries and ordered all Vietnamese Christians to renounce their religion by stomping on a crucifix. Practicing and teaching the faith was forbidden and many churches were destroyed. The Emperor went as far as, branding the faces of Christians with the words "ta dao" (false religion). He commanded the destruction of whole villages and had the villagers killed. Many had to endure much suffering and many hardships, and many were martyred for their faith.
It is recorded that of the 117 martyred there were 76 beheaded, 21 suffocated, 6 buried alive, 5 mutilated and 9 died as a result of tortures while in prison.
Between 1835-1839, Andrew tried to avoid persecution. He changed his name to Lac and moved to a different region. While there, he found a fellow priest and his confessor, Father Peter Thi, but both were arrested. The Vietnamese Christians managed to pay their ransoms and they were freed. Yet they were not free for long. They were re-arrested and severely tortured. Then on December 21, 1839, Fr. Andrew and Fr. Peter Thi were beheaded..
Over 130,000 people gave their lives for their Catholic Faith. There is expected to be more beatifications
to add to the 117 martyrs already beatified. This phrase was used to describe the Vietnamese Christians,"the faith rooted in Vietnam's soil proves hardier than the forces that willed to destroy it."
There is no doubt that St. Andrew Dung-Lac and the Vietnamese martyrs died believing the truth in these words, "Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelations 2: 10C)
Let us continue to pray for all priests to have courage and to remain faithful to Jesus and His Holy Catholic Church.