St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions, Martyrs
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, priest and martyr, and companions. This group of 117 Vietnamese martyrs were canonized on June 19, 1988 by Pope John Paul II.
St. Andrew Dung-Lac, whose name was originally Dung An Trân,was born about 1795 in a poor and pagan family in Bac-Ninh in North Vietnam. When he was twelve the family moved to Hà-Nôi (Hanoi). There he met the faith through a Catholic lay catechist. He was baptized in Vinh-Tri with the Christian name Andrew (Andrew Dung). After learning Chinese and Latin he became a catechist, and thereafter taught catechism in the country. On March 15, 1823 he was ordained a priest.
As a parish priest in Ke-Dâm he was fervent in his preaching. He was also very prayerful, fasted frequently, and lived a simple and moral life. He was a good example for the people and converted many. In 1835 he was imprisoned and repeatedly tortured under Emperor Minh-Mang’s persecutions (he was called Vietnam’s emperor Nero), but his freedom was purchased by donations from members of the congregation he served. To avoid persecutions he changed his name to Lac (Andrew Lac) and moved to another area to continue his work. But on November 10, 1839 he was again arrested, this time with Peter Thi, another Vietnamese priest whom he was visiting so that he might go to confession.
Once again Andrew was liberated, along with Peter Thi, in exchange for money. Their freedom was brief. They were soon re-arrested and taken to Hanoi, where both suffered dreadful torture. Finally they both were beheaded on December 21, 1839.
O God, source and origin of all fatherhood, who kept the Martyrs Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions faith to the Cross of your Son, even to the shedding of their blood, grant through their intercession, that, spreading your love among our brothers and sisters, we may be your children both in name and in truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.