9th July. St. Augustine Zhao Rong

Today is St. Augustine Zhao Rong’s feast day and that of his companions. Betweem 1648 and 1930 at least 120 Catholics were martyred in China under various regimes. Augustine was a soldier who travelled to Beijing with a foreign bishop, Bishop Dufresse, and was present at his death. He became a Christian and then a priest and was martyred in 1815. Those remembered with him came from all walks of life. Labourers, children, women and priests and many others, 87 of those listed were Chinese and 33 foreign clergy, and of course there were many more who were not recorded. It is a good day to pray for China and of course Hong Kong. Certainly the Church there in its many forms is under threat, some of it open to manipulation. We have seen the oppression people are suffering under, and recently in Hong Kong the removal of even the fragile legal protection they had. Nor should we forget the Uighurs in the north west. We have no idea of the true depth of their suffering, and perhaps the full truth will never come out.

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