John-Baptiste Nguyễn Bửu Đồng

John-Baptiste Nguyễn Phuc Bửu Đồng (1912 – January 30, 1968) was a Vietnamese Roman Catholic priest from the city of Huế who was murdered by the Việtcộng during the 1968 Tet Offensive.

LifeEdit

Born as a Prince of Nguyen dynasty, Bửu Đồng was a parish priest of a village east of Huế. He was a great-grandson of Emperor Minh Mang, while his father was the minister of Interior during the reign of Bao Dai. As the area was inhabited by many Việtcộng, he worked hard to stay on good terms with both them and the Army of Vietnam (ARVN) during the war.[1] In 1967, he reportedly invited both Việtcộng and ARVN soldiers to sit together for Christmas dinner. He accepted sewing machines for his parishioners from American USAID programs.[2]

DeathEdit

On the first day of the Tet Offensive, 30 January 1968, Việtcộng troops led Bửu Đồng to a nearby pagoda for questioning. He was later released after a passionate appeal by elders of his parish. Five days later, the Việtcộng returned and searched his rectory. Seizing his binoculars, camera, typewriter and picture of Hồ Chí Minh, the troops led the priest, aged 57, and two seminarians away. His corpse was found on 8 November 1969 at Luong Vien, about 30 kilometers northeast of Huế. The bodies of two other Catholic priests were in the same grave. This location contained a series of graves with a total of 20 bodies.[3][4][5][6]

LettersEdit

In his eyeglass case were found three letters. One was to his aged parents, another to his brothers, sisters, and cousins. The third letter was to his parishioners. The letter read:

My dearly beloved children, This is my last chance to write to you my children and remind you of the lesson of St. Peter on the boat in the storm [three words illegible] the faith. My words of greeting at this beginning of Spring are a hope that my works in the faith among you will make you remember [two words illegible] as my life is about to end by the will of God. Love one another and forgive my wrongs, thanking God with me. Ask God to forgive all my sins and remember to love and pray for me that I will live in belief and patience during difficulties to bring about the peace of Christ and serve the spirit of God and the interests of everyone in Mother Mary. Please pray that I will be serene and clear-headed and brave in every adversity of the spirit and of the body and will send my life to God through the hands of the Blessed Mother. With a promise to meet again in Heaven, I hope for grace for all of you, my children.

See alsoEdit

SourcesEdit

  1. ^ Milton J. Bates, Ward Just, Lawrence Lichty - Reporting Vietnam: American journalism, 1959-1975 - Volume 1 1998 - Page 312 "Of all instances of Catholic leaders singled out for slaughter, none was more poignant than that of Father Buu Dong, the radiant and popular parish priest of a village east of the city. The area was inhabited by many Viet Cong, and Father Dong "
  2. ^ Don Oberdorfer, Tet!: The Turning Point In The Vietnam War, (Garden City, New York, Doubleday and Company, 1971), pp. 205-16
  3. ^ Account of Father Bửu Đồng's last days
  4. ^ Vietnam magazine Vietnam Council on Foreign Relations 1971 "Letter from a Massacre By TRAN QUOC The body of Father Buu-Dong, age 57, was found on November 8, 1969, at Luong Vien which is about 30 kilometers northeast of Hue. The bodies of two other Catholic priests were in the same graves."
  5. ^ Alje Vennema, The Viet Cong massacre at Hue (1976), p. 138: "Others included were those of Vietnamese Catholic priests, brothers, and novices of the surrounding villages missing for over twenty months since the events of February, 1968. Among the 357 bodies were those of Father Buu Dong, a parish ..."
  6. ^ Catholic Currents 1969 - Volumes 1-3 Father "John Buu Dong, a Vietnamese priest, was discovered in a mass grave. Father Urbain David, a French Benedictine, was found with seven other victims in an eight-foot deep grave in which they were apparently buried alive."