| Blessed |
Martyrs of Laos
|Born||Italy, France and Laos|
|Martyred by||Pathet Lao|
|Venerated in||Catholic Church|
|Beatified||11 December 2016, Vientiene, Laos, by Cardinal Orlando Quevedo|
The Blessed Martyrs of Laos are seventeen Catholic priests and professed religious as well as one lay young man venerated as martyrs killed in Laos between 1954 and 1970 during a period of anti-religious sentiment under the Pathet Lao communist political movement.
Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name. Beati is the plural form, referring to those who have undergone the process of beatification.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.
A religious brother is a member of a Christian religious institute or religious order who commits himself to following Christ in consecrated life of the Church, usually by the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. He is a layman, in the sense of not being ordained as a deacon or priest, and usually lives in a religious community and works in a ministry appropriate to his capabilities. A brother might practice any secular occupation. The term "brother" is used as he is expected to be as a brother to others. Brothers are members of a variety of religious communities, which may be contemplative, monastic, or apostolic in character. Some religious institutes are composed only of brothers; others are so-called "mixed" communities that are made up of brothers and clerics.
The cause for their canonization was opened as two parallel processes with one for Mario Borzaga – an Italian Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate – and his companion Paul Thoj Xyooj – a Laotian catechist – and another for a group of fifteen martyrs that included ten French missionaries as well as five Laotian Catholics.The Borzaga cause commenced under Pope Benedict XVI on 22 December 2006 and the Tiěn cause commenced on 18 January 2008 in a move that accorded both sets of martyrs the title of Servant of God. Pope Francis approved both beatifications in 2015 and their beatification took place in Vientiane Cathedral on 11 December 2016 in which Cardinal Orlando Quevedo presided on the pope's behalf.
The Lao people or Laotians are a Tai ethnic group native to Southeast Asia, who speak the eponymous language of the Tai–Kadai group, originating from present-day southern China. They are the majority ethnic group of Laos, making up 53.2% of the total population. The majority of Lao people adhere to Theravada Buddhism. They are closely related to other Tai peoples, especially with the Isan people, who are also speakers of Lao language, but native to neighboring Thailand.
A catechism is a summary or exposition of doctrine and serves as a learning introduction to the Sacraments traditionally used in catechesis, or Christian religious teaching of children and adult converts. Catechisms are doctrinal manuals – often in the form of questions followed by answers to be memorised – a format that has been used in non-religious or secular contexts as well. The term catechumen refers to the designated recipient of the catechetical work or instruction. In the Catholic Church, catechumens are those who are preparing to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. Traditionally, they would be placed separately during Holy Mass from those who had been baptized, and would be dismissed from the liturgical assembly before the Profession of Faith (Creed) and General Intercessions.
The French are an ethnic group and nation who are identified with the country of France. This connection may be ethnic, legal, historical, or cultural.
Mario Borzaga was born on 27 August 1932 in Trent as the third of four children.He was ordained to the priesthood on 24 February 1957 (he entered the seminary in 1943) and became a professed member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1952. Borzaga decided to join the missions in Laos that his order was overseeing and so left Naples with the first Italian team to Laos where he learnt about the language and the local culture in order to assimilate into the communities. In 1958 he operated in small villages before moving into the northern regions around the apostolic vicariate of Luang Prabang where he began teaching catechism and later met the layman Thoj Xyooj Paj Lug.
Trento is a city on the Adige River in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol in Italy. It is the capital of the autonomous province of Trento. In the 16th century, the city was the location of the Council of Trent. Formerly part of Austria and Austria-Hungary, it was annexed by Italy in 1919. With almost 120,000 inhabitants, Trento is the third largest city in the Alps and second largest in the Tyrol.
Seminary, school of theology, theological seminary, and divinity school are educational institutions for educating students in scripture, theology, generally to prepare them for ordination to serve as clergy, in academics, or in Christian ministry. The English word is taken from the Latin seminarium, translated as seed-bed, an image taken from the Council of Trent document Cum adolescentium aetas which called for the first modern seminaries. In the West, the term now refers to Catholic educational institutes and has widened to include other Christian denominations and American Jewish institutions.
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) is a missionary religious congregation in the Catholic Church. It was founded on January 25, 1816, by Saint Eugène de Mazenod, a French priest born in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France on August 1, 1782. The congregation was given recognition by Pope Leo XII on February 17, 1826. The congregation is composed of priests and brothers usually living in community. Their traditional salutation is Laudetur Iesus Christus, to which the response is Et Maria Immaculata. In 2011, the congregation had approximately 4,400 members, including 580 in formation. In 2016, there were 3,924 members.
On 25 April 1960 he and Lug – at the request of some of the villagers of Pha Xoua – began a three-day walk near the border of China and along the path lost their tracks but were later ambushed and killed by guerillas of the Pathet Lao. He was killed on 25 April 1960 in the town of Kiukatiam in Luang Prabang in Laos.It was said that Borzaga was allowed to go because he was a foreign priest but he responded to his attackers: "If you kill him, you kill me. If he dies, I will die". His remains were thrown into a pit with his companion and never identified with precision.
China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
The Pathet Lao was a communist political movement and organization in Laos, formed in the mid-20th century. The group was ultimately successful in assuming political power in 1975, after the Laotian Civil War. The Pathet Lao were always closely associated with Vietnamese communists. During the civil war, it was effectively organized, equipped and even led by the People's Army of Vietnam. They fought against the anti-communist forces in the Vietnam War. Eventually, the term became the generic name for Laotian communists.
Laos, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, commonly referred to by its colloquial name of Muang Lao, is a socialist state and the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Located at the heart of the Indochinese peninsula, Laos is bordered by Myanmar (Burma) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southwest, and Thailand to the west and southwest.
He wrote a diary of his experiences and was later published as "To Be a Happy Man".
Thoj Xyooj Paj Lug was born in 1941 in Kiukatiam and was a lifelong layman and catechist from the apostolic vicariate of Luang Prabang.
He was killed on 25 April 1960 in his hometown and his remains crudely thrown into a pit alongside his priestly companion.
The fifteen martyrs are a group of French priests and religious from the Society of Foreign Missions of Paris and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate; there were also four lay Laotian catechists in this group and all were killed between 1954 and 1970 under the communist movement known as Pathet Lao.
During the Easter season of 1953, guerillas stormed Sam Neua and many missionaries retreated in order to remain safe while Joseph Thąo Tiěn remained behind – ordained in 1949 – and said: "I am staying for my people. I am ready to lay down my life for my Laotian brothers and sisters". He was then marched to the prison camp at Talang and told weeping people along the way: "Do not be sad, I'll come back. I am going to study ... Make sure that your village keeps improving". The priest was sentenced to death and killed a year later and refused to give up the priesthood and marry as his captors ordered him to do.
On the other side of Laos the priest John Baptist Malo – who served in China – was detained with four companions and died of exhaustion in 1954 en route to a prison camp. Other French priests and religious were killed and others died in captivity.
Below are the names of the fifteen martyrs:
The beatification process for Borzaga and Lug commenced in Trent after the forum for the process was transferred from Luang Prabang on 30 September 2005 to Trent. The two were then titled as a Servant of God on 22 December 2006 under Pope Benedict XVI after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued the official "nihil obstat" and allowed the process to take place. The diocesan process spanned from 7 October 2006 to 17 October 2008 and the C.C.S. later validated the process on 19 June 2009 in a move that allowed for the postulation to send the Positio to the C.C.S. in 2014. Theologians approved the cause on 27 November 2014 while the C.C.S. also voted in approval on 5 May 2015. Pope Francis approved the beatification that very same day and confirmed the two were martyrs.
The second cause commenced in Nantes and the transfer of the forum came from Savannakhet and other Laotian cities on 6 September 2007. The official "nihil obstat" came on 18 January 2008 and allowed for the inauguration of the diocesan process which started on 10 June 2008 and concluded its business on 28 February 2010; the cause was validated on 15 October 2011. The postulation sent the Positio to the C.C.S. in 2014 and theologians voiced their approval to the cause on 27 November 2014 while the C.C.S. also voted in favor on 2 June 2015. Pope Francis confirmed the group were martyrs on 5 June 2015 and approved their beatification.
The beatification was celebrated in Vientiane Cathedral on 11 December 2016 in which Cardinal Orlando Quevedo presided on the pope's behalf.
The current postulator for both these causes is the Rev. Thomas Kosterkamp.
The Catholic Church in Thailand is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.
Saint Pedro Calungsod, also known as Peter Calungsod and Pedro Calonsor, was a Roman Catholic Filipino migrant, sacristan and missionary catechist who, along with the Spanish Jesuit missionary Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered religious persecution and martyrdom in Guam for their missionary work in 1672.
The Catholic Church in Laos is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the pope in Rome. The Catholic Church is officially recognized by the Lao Front for National Construction.
Blessed Stanley Francis Rother was an American Roman Catholic priest from Oklahoma who was murdered in Guatemala. Ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City in 1963, he held several parish assignments there until 1968 when he was assigned as a missionary priest to Guatemala where he was murdered in 1981 in his Guatemalan mission rectory.
Francesco Spoto was an Italian Roman Catholic priest who served in the missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo and was killed there. He was also a professed member from the Missionary Servants of the Poor.
Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War is the name given by the Catholic Church to the people who were killed by Republicans during the Spanish Civil War because of their faith. More than 6,800 clergy and religious were killed in this "Red Terror". As of April 2019, 1,901 Spanish martyrs have been beatified; 11 of them being Canonized. For some two thousand additional martyrs, the beatification process is underway.
The Martyr Saints of China, or Augustine Zhao Rong and his 119 companions, are saints of the Roman Catholic Church. The 87 Chinese Catholics and 33 Western missionaries, from the mid-17th century to 1930, were martyred because of their ministry and, in some cases, for their refusal to apostatize.
Blessed Joseph Gérard was a French Roman Catholic priest and a professed member from the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate; he worked in the missions among the Basotho people in Lesotho and the Free State province of South Africa. His works in the mission are now attributed to a partial degree to a boom in Roman Catholicism in Lesotho where he was well-known and regarded for his extensive work; he was even working up until a month prior to his own death just before World War I.
Blessed Gerhard Hirschfelder was a German Roman Catholic priest. He was a vocal critic of Nazism and used his sermons to condemn Nazi propaganda and other aspects of Nazism which drew suspicion on him from the authorities who monitored him and even interrogated him on occasion. He was a staunch supporter of the role of adolescents in the life of the Church and made them a focus in his pastoral activities. In his imprisonment he became a member of the Schoenstatt Movement.
Saint Nicola Saggio was an Italian Roman Catholic professed oblate of the Order of Minims.
This article is a list of people proposed by each diocese of the Catholic Church for beatification and canonization, whose causes have been officially accepted by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints during the papacy of Pope Francis and are newly given the title as Servants of God. The names listed below are from the Vatican and are listed in month beginning the year 2013, with their birth and death year, position in clerical or religious life, and the place where the saint-to-be lived or died.
Choe Yang-Eop Thomas, also spelled Ch'oe Yang-Ōp Thomas, was a Korean Roman Catholic priest during the Joseon dynasty, who travelled across Eastern Asia as a seminarian and priest before settling at last after a period of persecution back in his homeland where he administered to hidden Christians until his death.
The Sacred Heart Cathedral, also called Vientiane Cathedral, is the name given to a Roman Catholic cathedral in the city of Vientiane, the capital of Laos. The temple is situated at the Rue de la Mission and near the French Embassy in Laos.
The Martyrs of Natal were a group of 30 Brazilian Roman Catholic individuals – two of them priests – killed in northern Brazil in massacres that a large group of Dutch Calvinists led. One priest was a Brazilian Jesuit missionary, while the other priest was an evangelizer himself. The others were all lay Catholics, most of them anonymous members of the Church, some of them children.
The Blessed Martyrs of Albania were a collective group of 38 individuals killed during the Communist regime in Albania from 1945 until 1974. All were born at various times between 1874 and 1935; the group included Albanians and Italians as well as one German. Each of these individuals, apart for four, were part of the religious life as either priests or religious and served as either missionaries or educators with a great deal spending their educational formation in Italian and Austrian cities.
Blesseds Marcello Maruzzo – known in his religious order as Tullio – and Luis Navarro were Italian and Guatemalan respectively. Maruzzo was a professed priest from the Order of Friars Minor and Navarro was part of the Secular Franciscan Order. The two were missionaries in Guatemala dedicated to catechesis and evangelization among the local people.