On October 1, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized the Chinese diocesan priest Augustine Zhao Rong and 119 compatriots, all Martyrs of China between 1648 and 1930. The Pope said: “The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart. These words of the Responsorial Psalm clearly reflect the experience of Augustine Zhao Rong and his 119 companions. The testimonies that have come down to us allow us to glimpse in then a state of mind marked by deep serenity and joy.”
Young Ann Wang, a fourteen-year-old, understood the threats of the torturers who invited her to apostatize. Instead, ready for her beheading, she declared with a radiant face: “The door of heaven is open to all,” three times murmuring “Jesus”.
Another Martyr, eighteen-year-old Chi Zhuzi, cried out fearlessly to those who had jus cut off his arm and were preparing to flay him alive: “Every piece of my flash, every drop of my blood will tell you that I am a Christian.”
The other 85 Chinese men and women of every age and state—priest, religious, and lay people—showed the same conviction and joy, sealing their unfailing fidelity to Christ and the Church with the gift of their lives.
PRAYER: God, through the profession of the holy Martyrs Augustine and his Companions, You strengthened Your Church in a wonderful way. Grant that Your people may be faithful to the mission entrusted to them and both receive an increase of freedom and bear witness to the truth before the world. Amen.