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Vietnam bishops to start beatification process of first MEP missionaries

Catholic Bishops' Conference of Vietnam (Photo courtesy of

The plenary assembly of the Vietnamese Bishops was held in the Thai Binh diocese in Vietnam from April 25 to 29.  

The bishops from 27 dioceses of Vietnam, Archbishop Marek Zalewski, the apostolic Nuncio in Singapore and the non-resident papal representative in Vietnam, and a Vatican delegation led by Msgr. Miroslaw Stanislaw Wachowski, Vatican Undersecretary for Relations with the States, were present at the meeting.

During the meeting, the Vietnamese Bishops discussed their wish to start a beatification process for the two bishops, François Pallu MEP (1626-1684) and Pierre Lambert de La Motte MEP (1624-1679). 

These two bishops were the first missionaries of the Paris Foreign Missions Society (MEP) to the Far East, particularly in Vietnam and also the Vicar Apostolates of Vietnam. They made a lot of effort to evangelize and for the development of the Churches in East Asia. 

Bishop François Pallu was mainly recognized as the founder of MEP. He was born in the parish of Saint-Saturnin, in Tours (located in the Center-Val de Loire region of France) on August 31, 1626. He came from a noble family and his father was the mayor, a councilor, and a lawyer of Tours. 

He was ordained as a priest in 1650. He was appointed as the Titular Bishop of Heliopolis and the Vicar apostolic of Tonkin (the northern part of Vietnam and composed of Tonkin, Laos, and five provinces of southwest China) on Jul 29, 1658. He died as Vicar Apostolic of Fukien in Muyan, Fujian, China on October 29, 1684. 

Pierre Lambert de La Motte was co-founder of the MEP. He was born on January 16, 1624. He was ordained as a priest on December 27, 1655. 

Pope Alexander VII appointed him as the first Vicar Apostolic of Cochin or Cochin-China (the southern part of Vietnam) on July 29, 1658. 

In 1699, he went along with Father Jacques de Bourges and Father Gabriel Bouchard to Tonkin and established a church. He founded the women association of the “Lovers of the Holy Cross” in 1670. He died in 1679 at Ayutthaya of Siam (now Thailand).

According to the official procedure of the Catholic Church, there are three steps to be given a title of a saint. The first one is the title of “Venerable” in which a deceased person was recognized formally by the pope for his heroic and virtuous life or offering their lives. 

The second one is a title of “Blessed” by the process of beatification in which one miracle is needed through the intercession to the “Venerable” and recognition of heroic, virtuous life and giving their lives.  

And the third is the title of “Saint” by the process of canonization in which a second miracle is needed after beatification. 

For the martyrs, a miracle is not needed for beatification but one miracle is needed after beatification.

As of 2021, there are 3 archdioceses and 24 dioceses in Vietnam, 26 bishops are in service and 20 retired bishops, about 3000 parishes, 6000 priests, 200 orders, societies, and congregations, 31000 Religious, and over 7 million Catholics. - With inputs from Patrick Soe Htun


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