Ordinary Time: November 24th
Memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, priest and martyr, and Companions, martyrs; Thanksgiving Day
Old Calendar: St. John of the Cross, confessor and doctor; St. Chrysogonus, martyr; Sts. Flora & Mary, virgins & martyrs (Hist)
Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, priest and martyr, and companions, martyrs. St. Andrew was one of 117 people who were martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862.According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. John of the Cross which is now celebrated on December 14. It is also the commemoration of St. Chrysogonus, a martyr of Aquilea at the beginning of the fourth century. His name occurs in the Canon of the Mass. Historically today is the feast of Sts. Flora and Mary, Christian martyrs of Cordoba, Spain. Flora was raised a Christian in secret by her mother, who was married to a Muslim. Betrayed by her brother, she was beaten and given to him to abuse because of her faith. Escaping, Flora met Mary, the sister of a martyred deacon. They surrendered to Muslim authorities and were placed in a brothel. Still clinging to the faith, Flora and Mary were beheaded.Many people assume that the United States has celebrated Thanksgiving Day since the time of the pilgrims as a sign of thanksgiving for the harvest season. This is not exactly true. President Abraham Lincoln instituted the holiday in 1863 during the Civil War. However, he did not have the harvest in mind. He wanted Americans to celebrate the holiday as a sign of unity and thanksgiving to God.
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” (President Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation, October 3, 1863).
There is no American holiday that so closely resembles the symbolism and meaning of the sacrament of the Eucharist. We celebrate Thanksgiving as a sign of American unity and thanksgiving to God who has given us great gifts.Excerpted from The Religion TeacherFor more information please see Thanksgiving Day.
St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions
There are 117 martyrs in this group and although they died at different times, they were all canonized by Pope John Paul II on June 19, 1988. Of the group, 96 were Vietnamese, 11 were Spaniards, and 10 were French. There were 8 bishops, 50 priests and 59 lay Catholics in the group. Of the priests, 11 were Dominicans, 10 belonged to the Paris Mission Society, and the rest were diocesan priests plus one seminarian. Certain individual martyrs were mentioned by name in the process of canonization: Andrew Dung-Lac, a diocesan priest; Thomas Tran-Van-Thien, a seminarian; Emmanuel Le-Van-Pung, father of a family; the Dominican bishops Jerome Hermosilla and Valentine Berrio-Ochoa; and John Theophane Venard.
- Find out more about the Vietnam martyrs.
- Find out more about the suffering of the Church in communist Vietnam.
- Pray a rosary for those suffering persecution today in Vietnam.
- Cook a Vietnamese dish in honor of today's saints.
St. Chrysogonus probably was a native of Aquileia, although he was venerated in Rome already in the fourth century. According to legend he was brought to Rome under Emperor Diocletian and thrown into prison; there he stayed two years, sustained by St. Anastasia. That pious woman was obliged to endure many hardships from her husband Publius because of the Christian faith, but she derived much comfort from these short visits and acts of mercy. When all imprisoned Christians were ordered to be executed, Chrysogonus was brought to Aquileia. There Diocletian addressed him, "I have called you before me, Chrysogonus, to load you with honors provided you are willing to adore the gods." The saint replied, "Only the true God will I adore. Idols which neither have existence nor life and only represent devils, I hate and curse." Embittered by such an answer, the Emperor commanded him to be beheaded on November 24. His body was submerged in the sea; when found shortly after on the shore, it was interred by the priest Zoilus in his house (c. 304). Great honor was paid Chrysogonus by the Church of Rome; his name was inserted in the Canon, and a station church in his honor was erected.
Sts. Flora and Mary
In the reign of Abderramene II., king of the Saracens at Cordova in Spain, Flora, because she was of Muslim extraction by her father, but had been secretly instructed in the faith by her mother, was impeached by her own brother before the cadi, or judge of the city. This magistrate caused her to be scourged, and beaten on the head till in some parts her scull was bare. Then he put her into the hands of her brother, that he might overcome her resolution.