Mass for Vietnamese Martyrs


bishopvietnamesemass-webBishop Dennis Sullivan reads during the Mass for Vietnamese Martyrs Nov. 26 at Our Lady Star of the Sea, Atlantic City. Also pictured is Deacon Luis Correa.

Photo by Alan M. Dumoff

Bishop Dennis Sullivan gathered with local Vietnamese Catholics to honor the Vietnamese Martyrs on Nov. 26.
Celebrated Nov. 26 at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Atlantic City, the Mass recognized the 117 martyrs who were canonized by Pope John Paul II.
The martyrs were killed between 1745 and 1862. The 1988 canonization ceremony marked the largest number of people canonized at a single time, Father Innocenzo Venchi, promoter of the sainthood causes of the martyrs, said at the time.
About 75 of the martyrs were beheaded, said Father Venchi. Others were strangled, burned alive, quartered and tortured to death, he added.
The martyrs form only a small part of the 130,000 Christians believed persecuted in Vietnam over a 300-year period beginning in the 16th century, Father Venchi said.
The martyrs include bishops, priests, religious and catechists. Most are lay people. One was a woman.
Although the saints lived during the 18th and 19th centuries, the Marxist government prohibited Vietnamese bishops, clergy and laity from attending the 1988 Vatican canonization Mass.