Despite the bone-chilling weather after Thanksgiving Day, hundreds of people gathered at Saint Martin Church in Sunnyvale on November 28 to celebrate the memorial of the Martyrs of Vietnam.
Just like the assembly at that liturgy, who were not all Vietnamese, the list of 117 holy martyrs of Vietnam includes 11 Spanish Dominicans and 10 members of the Paris Foreign Missions Society. The saints, canonized in 1988, represent about 130,000 martyrs who died in several persecutions mostly in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Another martyr, whose cause of canonization is still in progress, is 19-year-old Andrew of Phú Yên, known as Proto-martyr of Vietnam and beatified in 2000. Closer to our time is Father Francis Xavier Trương Bửu Diệp, a priest who was martyred in 1946 during a conflict between political and religious factions. He “offered his own life in sacrifice in exchange for the release of his 60 parishioners who were arrested with him,” according to Asianews.it. The anniversary of his death every year draws tens of thousands of people, Christians and non-Christians alike, to his burial place. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints in December last year gave the green light to the opening of the canonization process of Father Francis Xavier, reported Radiovaticana.va.