Special Mass marks the 189th anniversary of the death of Martyr Father Peter Le Tuy
People in traditional costumes carry a statue of Martyr Peter Le Tuy around Bang So village on Oct. 10. (photo: tonggiaophanhanoi.org)
Catholic pilgrims from a northern archdiocese have been called on to bear witness to faith and love as their martyr did.
On Oct. 11, Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien of Hanoi presided at a special Mass to mark the 189th anniversary of the death of Martyr Father Peter Le Tuy at the Pilgrimage Center of Bang So in Thuong Tin district of Hanoi City.
Some 100 priests joined the open-air ceremony with the theme "Saint Peter Le Tuy - witness of synodality" attended by thousands of pilgrims from many parishes.
Archbishop Thien said Martyr Father Peter Le Tuy bravely bore witness to God by willingly sacrificing himself and shedding his blood to show his loyalty to the faith and the Church. The saint of Bang So parish has provided a shining example of faith for all Catholics from northern dioceses for the past 200 years.
"Today we come to the spiritual land where God offers countless graces to people thanks to the intercession of our saint's prayers," he said.
The prelate said Catholics are invited to live a good life, be true to their Christian mission, proud of their Catholic identity and take after Jesus, who is their ideal.
They should follow the good example of Martyr Le Tuy, a witness of faith and love who followed Jesus in his life and death, in bearing witness to God by doing charity work for followers of other faiths and those who remain biased against the Catholic Church.
The archbishop said while he was detained, the saint was advised by the authorities to identify himself as a practitioner of traditional medicine rather than a priest so that he could be free, but he refused, saying that "I do not fear death as all people die."
“The large attendance at the ceremony is a clear sign that God gives awards to our saint and those who are true to and give witness to God in their environment,” he said.
During the two-day celebrations that began the previous day, pilgrims attended Masses, carried a big statue of Martyr Le Tuy and his relics around the village, watched cultural performances and offered incense and flowers in front of the statue. Twenty-five groups including ethnic women played drums, trumpets and gongs.
Meanwhile, 31 groups from 21 parishes in colorful traditional dress performed dances with flowers honoring Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary.
Born to a good Catholic family in Bang So village in 1773, Tuy was highly intelligent and was sent to study at a seminary in Nam Dinh. He was sent to work in Nghe An province after being ordained a deacon. He was ordained a priest and served the parishes of Chan Loc, Dong Thanh and Nam Duong.
Father Tuy, who was affable, gentle and enthusiastic about pastoral activities, was arrested on June 25, 1833, by a non-Catholic group after he anointed a dying patient from Thanh Trai parish with oil.
The old priest was beheaded on Oct. 11, 1833, for “spreading a heresy among the people.” His corpse was buried at Trang Nua parish and later was reinterred at his native parish of Bang So.
Father Tuy was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on May 27, 1900, and canonized by Pope John Paul II on June 19, 1988.
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