Celebrating the Holy Vietnamese Martyrs
The Vietnamese Martyrs Were Canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1988
Only three months into their new assignments, Fr. Francis Pham and Fr. Thanh Nguyen are building community in Kansas City – with their own confreres as well as Vietnamese Catholics living in Missouri and Kansas! Fr. Francis, pastor, and Fr. Thanh, parochial vicar, celebrated a special Mass for the Holy Vietnamese Martyrs, estimated to be between 130,000 and 300,000 Vietnamese who were killed for their faith. Pope John Paul II decided to canonize those whose names are known and unknown, giving them a single feast day – a significant anniversary for Vietnamese Catholics living in the USA.
Fr. Francis presided at the liturgy, with concelebrants including Fr. Thanh, Fr. Joseph Hanh Pham, former pastor, Fr. Quy Ta and our own Fr. Jim White, the only member of the Kansas City community able to join them last Sunday. Participants remained after Mass to enjoy a reception featuring authentic Vietnamese food and a variety of singers and dancers for entertainment. “We were very happy that so many people shared in our feast day celebration,” Fr. Thanh said of his home parish. “We have at least 500 families and more than 300 students in faith formation. We’re planning to feature the novena to our Mother of Perpetual Help and offer more activities in our new ministry.”
The Vietnamese Martyrs, also known as the Martyrs of Indochina, Martyrs of Tonkin, Annam, and Cochinchina, or Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions were canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1988. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Vatican estimates the number of Vietnamese martyrs at between 130,000 and 300,000. John Paul II decided to canonize those whose names are both known and unknown, giving them a single feast day.