UCAN Spirituality Catholic Church News

St Paul Tong Viet Buong (Phaolô Tống Viết Bường)


Paul Tong Viet Buong was born around 1773 (some say 1782) in the city of Hue, where his family were teachers employed at the court of the emperor. He later served in the imperial troops. He defended villages against invading maurauders, and his brave deeds were made known to the Emperor.  Emperor Minh Mang then recruited him into his Imperial Guards and soon made him the Praetor of Imperial Guards.  He met the priests of the Paris Foreign Missions and became a Catholic, later refusing to persecute Catholics.  He was questioned by the Emperor if he had visited the local pagodas.  At first, he avoided the questions by saying that without his Majesty’s commands, he would not visit the pagodas.  After being pressed several times, he confessed that his Christian belief did not allow him to visit pagodas or worship other gods.

Paul was then arrested and forced to act as a servant to other noblemen. When these noblemen tried to protect him the emperor had him imprisoned, tortured, and beheaded. His head was displayed in pubic at Tho Duc parish as warning to Catholics who defied royal decrees.  Pope John Paul II canonized him in 1988 along with the other 116 Vietnamese Martyrs. His name given to a Catholic church in Ho Chi Minh City (Saiagon).


Other Vietnamese saints canonized in 1988 with feasts in October are:

  • St Joseph Thi (24 October), who was a native soldier in the service of the king of Vietnam and was strangled to death for being a Christian.
  • St. John Dat (28 October), who was ordained a priest in 1798, and arrested in that same year and imprisoned for three months before being beheaded.