Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill
Menu

Vietnamese remember martyrs with faith and celebration

COLUMBIA—Hundreds of Vietnamese Catholics celebrated their ancestors who died for the faith at the annual Vietnamese Martyrs’ Celebration held Nov. 18 at St. Martin de Porres Church in Columbia.

Franciscan Father David Q. Phan and Father Elbano Muñoz, pastor of St. Anne Church in Rock Hill, concelebrated a Mass in Vietnamese. Cultural hymns were sung by a choir representing several different parishes, and a flower dance was performed by young girls from around the state.

The event started with a procession. Men, women and children sang in Vietnamese and carried banners and flags as they filed into the church, leading a group of women who carried a reliquary containing relics of the martyrs. After Mass, everyone had a chance to come forward to venerate the relics and receive a blessing.

The annual celebration honors 117 Vietnamese who were canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1988. They are known as the Martyrs of Tonkin or Annam, and Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions. The actual feast day is Nov. 24.

Catholics faced persecution and death in Vietnam from the 16th through 19th centuries. The 19th century was especially brutal because several ruling dynasties in the area tried to completely wipe out the Church’s presence. Some Vatican officials and historians estimate that up to 300,000 Catholics may have lost their lives in Vietnam during these years.

The Martyrs’ celebration drew people from Columbia, Rock Hill, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, and Charleston, all areas with significant Vietnamese populations. There are an estimated 1,500 Vietnamese Catholics  statewide, according to figures compiled by the diocesan Office of Ethnic Ministries.

Father Phan has some perspective on the long history of persecution. As a young man, he fled the nation to escape the Communist government and worked for many years to bring his family to the United States.

“We gather here once a year to honor these martyrs because the Vietnamese people have a long history of faith, and we continue to practice our faith,” Father Phan said.

“We need to promote our faith so that our children can also express their belief and build it up for the next generation,” he continued.

“Vietnamese have struggled and continue to struggle even today. Hopefully this celebration will help us to strengthen our faith and live in a way that shows we are disciples of Christ.”






  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Oct 13 Diocesan Evangelization Conference
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    Oct 278:00 am Day of Continuing Education for Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Nov 1 Black Catholic History Month
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Nov 1010:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Nov 1210:00 am Junta Diocesana
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Nov 17 Diocese of Charleston Native American Catholic Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of Native American Ministry
    Nov 18 Vietnamese Martyrs Celebration
    From the Calendar of Vietnamese Ministry
    Dec 1 Black Catholics Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Dec 15 Simbang Gabi for Filipino Catholics
    From the Calendar of Filipino Ministry
    Dec 25 Diocesan Television Christmas Special Fox 21
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    Jan 412:00 am Class 2019 Ordination Retreat
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Jan 812:00 am Retiro Espiritual de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Jan 1210:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Feb 911:00 am Ordination of Permanent Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate