This photo, taken by Patrick Hayes, Ph.D. on his recent visit to St. Ann’s Basilica, Scranton, Pennsylvania shows me standing before the historic portraits of Passionist Fathers Godfrey Holbein, Clement Seybold and Walter Coveyou. Their murders by Chinese bandits in West Hunan, China was a key event in American Catholic missionay history to China, and impacted diplomatic relations between the U.S., China and the Holy See.
I invite you to read and reflect on the prayer I wrote in 2019 to commemorate their death.
To you we pray, Fathers Walter Coveyou, Godfrey Holbein and Clement Seybold. To China you traveled with confidence and faith. Inspire me to have safety and a world vision of peace wherever I travel.
Father Walter, your preaching and witness before you went to China in 1928 reminded all that prayers and donation- large or small- sustain those in need. Remind me how daily offerings and sacrifices unite me to the people of the world.
Father Godfrey, beginning in 1924, your love to serve the people of Hunan, China amidst daily anxieties only sanctified your presence. During my daily trials, may I find assurance that my sufferings identify with those I meet each day.
Father Clement, beginning in 1924, your awareness of the social and religious pulse of Hunan, China manifest confidence in the Gospel. May your courage lead me to be a voice of faithful leadership enabling the powerful and powerless to cooperate so that a peaceful life exists for all.
Fathers Walter, Godfrey and Clement, sorrow and shock of your 1929 deaths has led many to recall the lives of martyrs. May your life, death and memory as Passionist priests heal my personal sufferings, those whom I know and those throughout the world.
May the Passion of Jesus Christ Be Always in Our Hearts.
Please consider making a financial contribution to help the Passionists educate the public about their centennial: 1922, when the first Passionist arrived in China . https://passionistarchives.org/donations/