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Asian Catholic Dioceses Directory

Vietnam’s Tac Say Cathedral lives the memory of martyred priest

Diocese of Can Tho Vietnam’s Tac Say Cathedral lives the memory of martyred priest

Vietnam’s Tac Say Cathedral is a telltale example of how Catholicism thrived in many parts of Asia through valiance and martyrdom of early Catholics.

The church, also known as Father Diep Church, lives the memory of Father Francis Xavier Truong Buu Diep who served the parish church for 16 years and died a martyr’s death while defending local Catholics in 1946 from persecution of Japanese soldiers.

The priest’s martyrdom saved lives of 70 local Catholics who were also bundled together to be burned alive in a barn but managed to escape. His body was first buried in a different place, but his mortal remains were exhumed and re-buried in the premises of the church in 1969.

Father Diep is among the most revered Catholic priests in Vietnam, to both Christians and non-Christians. He was declared a “Servant of God” – the first of three-stage process for sainthood in the Catholic Church, in 2014. His tomb on the premises of the church is a major pilgrimage site in Can Tho Diocese of Bac Lieu province.

Due to growing number of pilgrims, the church has established a five-storied pilgrimage center. Any pilgrim can stay in the center overnight free of charge. The center can accommodate about 600 pilgrims at one time.

Besides the legacy of Father Diep, Tac Say Cathedral is also famed for its unique design and architecture. The church was built in in 1925 during French colonial era in a Buddhist pagoda style. Today, it is considered one of the largest and most beautiful churches in Mekong Delta region.

The three-storied church has light blue walls, a red-tiled roof and four clocks turning towards four directions. The church will celebrate its centenary of foundation in 2025.

Every day many pilgrims and visitors flock to the church, mostly to pray and to offer candles and incense to Father Diep. They also place bottled water and medicines on him tomb to be blessed.

On March 12, day of Father Diep’s death, tens of thousands of people throng to the church when it celebrates a special memorial Mass. Some Catholics reported that their prayers to the saintly priest have been miraculously answered.

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