From the JNVaz Institute
Martin Luther King Jr. and St. Joseph Vaz
Celebrating the struggle for human dignity and freedom!
This year, April is a month that brings to mind two significant struggles for human freedom, one a modern day secular struggle for equal rights and the other a struggle for religious freedom that took place three centuries ago.
Today, April 4th, America and the world is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4th this year. We celebrate his historic struggle to overcome oppression, denial of human rights, and successfully win freedom and equal rights for the descendants of African slaves in America.
April 21st is the birthday of St. Joseph Vaz (1651-1711). We invite all devotees and admirers of this great Goan saint to remember that he laid his life on the line to work under persecution to win back religious freedom for the descendants of Sri Lankan Catholic converts in Sri Lanka. St. Joseph Vaz, born in Goa, offered to go to Sri Lanka under disguise. He lived and worked there for twenty-three years, walking barefoot and escaping capture by the Dutch who had banned the practice of the Catholic faith and all priests from entering Sri Lanka. Through his arduous labors and courageous resistance, he built up an underground church, even underground schools, and a Catholic community that has survived to the present day. The Sri Lankan Catholic community that he successfully founded and the country of Sri Lanka hosted the Pope’s official visit to Sri Lanka in 2015 to canonize him as Goa and Sri Lanka’s first canonized Saint.
St. Joseph Vaz will always remain a symbol of hope and inspiration for all those who suffer persecution and are standing up for freedom of religion.
We invite all those who are working for human rights and social justice to join us in celebrating his saintly life at his annual Feast Day Mass and help make him better known as a model of service to humanity.
For more information, please visit our website www.josephnaikvaz.org