Feast of St. Andrew Dung-Lac and St. Peter Thi (November 24)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Vatican City

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ANDREW DUNG-LAC (1795-1839) AND SAINT PETER THI (DIED IN 1839, AGED 60 YEARS)

Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs in Vietnam

St. Andrew Dung-Lac, born Dung An Tran, came from a poor family in northern Vietnam.  His family, seeking work, moved to Hanoi when he was twelve years old.  There he met a Roman Catholic catechist, who provided food, shelter, and religious instruction.  Thus, after three years of religious instruction, Dung An Tran became a Christian, being baptized as Andrew.  The saint became a catechist.  Then, on March 15, 1823, he received Holy Orders as a priest.  He was an effective parish priest, baptizing many people.

Times were perilous for Vietnamese Christians, for the Emperor, Minh-Mang, persecuted them.  Thus is was that authorities arrested Andrew Dung-Lac in 1835 and 1839, with members of his congregation purchasing his freedom each time.  Yet the third arrest (the second to occur in 1839), was the last one.  Authorities apprehended Andrew Dung-Lac and a fellow priest, Peter Thi, while the two were traveling together to go to confession.  The two priests suffered tortures before dying by beheading on December 21, 1839.

Pope John Paul II canonized the two priest-martyrs in 1988.  The Roman Catholic Church lists November 24 as the Feast of St. Andrew Dung-Lac and December 20 as the Feast of St. Peter Thi, but I have combined the two occasions for my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

We who enjoy religious freedom are truly blessed.  Many of our fellow human beings of various labels lack this basic human right.  So may we not take our religious freedom for granted.  Furthermore, may we support efforts to extend religious freedom to others.  Freedom, as I tell my students, extends to those who agree with us and to those who do not, those who are like us and those who are different from us.  So may we not restrict our efforts to helping our fellow Christians, although we should, of course, take a special interest in their well-being.  All human beings bear the image of God, although many do not worship God, unfortunately.  Bringing them to God can be risky, as the examples of these priests demonstrate, but that work is always worthwhile.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 3, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RICHARD HOOKER, ANGLICAN THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF DANIEL PAYNE, AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL BISHOP

THE FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE CHURCH OF PAKISTAN, 1970

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The Collect and Lections for a Martyr:

Gracious God,

in every age you have sent

men and women who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of Sts. Andrew Dung-Lac and Peter Thi,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives

to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

for he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,

now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), the hymnal and worship book of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

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