Monday, November 24, 2014

Rome Tomb of Servant of God François-Xavier Cardinal Nguyễn Văn Thuận

Santa Maria della Scala in Trastevere. 

When the Servant of God passed away in 2002, his mortal remains were laid to rest in the Vatican vault at Rome's main cemetery, the Campo Verano.

Ten years later, his remains were removed to this altar, inside this favorite Rome church, his former titular church as Cardinal Deacon.

13 years in solitary confinement, his story is a precious witness.

The Cardinal once came to my university for a visit to deliver a lecture.  He came at the invitation of the distinguished Center for Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas.  We were all deeply moved by both his lecture as well a small meeting held in a student commons. 

During his lecture, the Cardinal explained that his jailers had asked him to teach them Latin and so he did.  Looking up at the audience, he said with a broad smile: "You think communists don't speak Latin?!" 

On this day, November 24, we remember as a memorial one hundred seventeen martyrs of Vietnam who lost their lives in various persecutions from 1740-1883.  This group of ninety-six native Vietnamese and twenty-one Spanish and French missionaries suffered brutal tortures for the Faith.   

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