In many parts of the world today, the Catholic Church is persecuted. Many people hear of the great persecutions suffered by Catholics in China, but there are also severe persecutions in other parts of Asia too, including Vietnam whose rulers have a long history of religious persecution against the Church. In fact, Our Blessed Mother once paid a visit to her Vietnamese children during the course of one of these great persecutions at the end of the 18th century:
… the persecution of Catholics in central Vietnam was so severe that many of the people fled to a remote jungle area in the mountains near Lavang. They wished to be free to practice their religion, as well as to save their lives. One evening as the community was reciting the rosary together, there was an apparition of a beautiful lady holding a little child in her arms, and with angels surrounding her. The lady was dressed simply, but wearing a crown. The people recognized the beautiful Lady as the Queen of Heaven. She spoke to the people in the loving tones of a mother. She encouraged and comforted them. Displaying a tender concern for her children, she taught the people how to make medicines from the plants and herbs that grew in the area. She also promised her protection to any who would come to that particular site to pray. Unlike her messages at Fatima and Lourdes, the Lady of Lavang brought only messages of comfort, not warnings. She simply expressed her tender mother’s care for her persecuted children. The apparition appeared again a number of times. (Source)
The story of Lavang has a special appeal to me on many levels because, in the first place, when I was growing up as a boy I had a special affinity to Vietnamese families who lived in the low-income housing across the divide. I always admired their sense of unity and love for family life. I also had a close school friend who was Vietnamese. Secondly, although I am Portuguese by heritage (and therefore a Fatima devotee), the story of Lavang has none of the secrets or apocalyptic nature which Fatima or other approved apparition sites do. On the contrary, the message of Lavang is special because of its simplicity, love, and concern of the Mother of God for her children. It is a divine maternal love of the Mother of God for her poor and helpless children who fled persecution because they would not renounce Her son to the Authorities. Thirdly, I am attracted to Lavang because of the lesson it has for us Catholics living in the West who will one day suffer harsh persecution as well. It is a lesson of faith, perseverance, and total abandonment to Mary.
Today, the dragon continues its war on the children of Mary in Vietnam, albeit with a different face. The Communist persecution of Vietnamese Catholics, like in China, has been a relentless one with serious encroachments on religious freedom and the right to private property. The Communist thugs resort to lies and propaganda to accomplish their goals, but the Church is resilient and defiant in the face of these injustices.
In fact, not only is the Church there resisting, She is bursting at the seams with young men wishing to enter the priesthood.
And this is where you enter the picture of salvation history, dear reader.
For $360 a year (less than a $1/day), you can be responsible for assisting the Church Militant in Vietnam at its most important hour by sponsoring one of Holy Mother Church’s sons to become a priest to stand firm against the Communists and bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Asia.
While other charitable giving is good and noble, sponsoring a priest – a man who can make Jesus’ sacrifice present for the people and whose ministry can forgive sins – is another world of charity and evangelization. With your sponsorship, you can change eternity for thousands of people, and your Seminarian will remember you in his prayers through his studies and throughout his priesthood. Think about that for a moment: your own persecuted priest, praying for you. My friend, if that is not a spiritual investment of epic proportions, then nothing is.
Currently this program is sponsoring 60 priests, but we are looking to sponsor 40 more.
If God is calling you to support this important Ministry, then e-mail me here for donation details. Tax receipts will be issued.
Long live the Church Militant!