Through the missionary efforts of various religious families beginning in the sixteenth century and continuing until 1866, the Vietnamese people heard the message of the gospel, and many accepted it despite persecution and even death. On June 19, 1988, Pope John Paul II canonized 117 persons martyred in the eighteenth century. Among these were ninety-six Vietnamese, eleven missionaries born in Spain and belonging to the Order of Preachers, and ten French missionaries belonging to the Paris Foreign Mission Society. Among these saints are eight Spanish and French bishops, fifty priests (thirteen European and thirty-seven Vietnamese), and fifty-nine lay people. These martyrs gave their lives not only for the Church but for their country as well. They showed that they wanted the gospel of Christ to take root in their people and contribute to the good of their homeland. On June 1, 1989, these holy martyrs were inscribed in the liturgical calendar of the Universal Church on November 24th.