24 November, Saint Andrew Dung–Lac and 116 Other Martyrs of Vietnam

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The 2002 edition of the Missale Romanum presents a Proper Mass for the memorial of the Holy Martyrs of Vietnam. Whereas on the feasts of other groups of martyrs, the Mass is ordinarily taken from the Common of Several Martyrs, today's saints are honoured with a Mass specially composed for them.

The Entrance Antiphon is a remarkable new composition juxtaposing two Pauline texts:

Far be it from us to glory
save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To us who are being saved
the word of the Cross is, in fact,
the power of God (cf. Gal 6:14; cf. 1 Cor 1:18).

The Collect uses a unique form of address, Deus, omnis paternitatis fons et origo. The motif of the Cross, already present in the Entrance Antiphon, recurs in the Collect. Saint Théophane Vénard and others were condemned to death after refusing to trample the Cross.

O God, wellspring and origin of all fatherhood,
who made the blessed martyrs Andrew and his companions
faithful to the cross of your Son
even to the shedding of their blood;
by their intercession, grant that,
while spreading your love among our brethren,
we may be able both to be called your children
and to be what we are called.

The Prayer Over the Offerings asks for the grace of fidelity to God inter adversa vitae nostrae. It further asks that we may present our very selves to God as a sacrificial offering (hostia), an acceptable victim.

Receive, holy Father, the gifts we offer
as we venerate the memory of the holy martyrs,
so that in the midst of the adversities of this life
we may be worthy of being found faithful to you
and present our very selves as a victim acceptable to you.

The Communion Antiphon is taken from the Beatitudes:

Blessed are those who are persecuted for justice’ sake;
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:10).

The Postcommunion uses the Johannine verb to abide, and links this abiding in the love of God (cf. Jn 15:9) to the unity of mind and heart that characterizes the first Christians in Acts4:32:

Refreshed by the nourishment of this one bread,
received in commemoration of your holy martyrs,
we humbly entreat you, Lord,
that remaining of one mind in your love,
we may be found worthy of obtaining the eternal prize of patience.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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