Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - "In this Year of Faith, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the canonization of the Vietnamese martyrs. Through the celebration, we can understand God's love for us." The Archbishop of Saigon, Card. Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man has focused his June pastoral letter to the faithful on the Vietnamese martyrs, celebrating the "sacrifice" of the saints, who gave "their lives and died for mission in Vietnam." In response to the appeal launched by the Cardinal, on 19 June the parishes of the Archdiocese celebrated solemn Masses in memory of the martyrs, attended by hundreds of thousands of faithful.
The feast of the Vietnamese martyrs, which is celebrated every year on 24 November, will highlight the strong and unwavering faith of 117 people - 8 bishops, 50 priests, a seminarian and 42 faithful - who along with other 300 thousand Christians were put to death by the king between 1638 and 1886. The martyrs included children, youth, women and old men, all slaughtered in the denial of their right to religious freedom. On 19 June 1988, Blessed John Paul II decided to canonize and celebrate their ultimate sacrifice with an annual feast day.
During the homily, Fr. Dominic
Đinh Lê Ngọc, parochial vicar of Ho Chi Minh City, compared man and nature: the
trees "have their roots," the waters "have their sources"
and "we have ancestors, grandparents, the
parents. " The
priest paid tribute to the sacrifice of the Vietnamese martyrs "killed for
us today. From them we receive the grace of faith and spread the Good
News" for future generations.
A number of parishes in Hanoi and Hue joined in the celebrations. Fr. Dominic pointed out that the example and witness of the martyrs are valid examples even today, in a time when the Vietnamese Church and the faithful are victims of abuse, harassment and persecution because of their faith. From Christian activists to Catholic bloggers, repression - of dissidence - has affected dozens of people in recent months, then there are still many unresolved issues related to Church properties, that the national and local Communist leaders are trying to seize even resorting to force.