Manila, Philippines – Few people know about Saint Pedro Calungsod who was also known as Pedro Calonsor (1654 –2 April 1672) He’s a young Roman Catholic Filipino saint, migrant, sacristan and missionary, catechist, who along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered religious persecution and martyrdom in Guam for their missionary work in 1672.
While Pedro Calungsod was in Guam, he preached Christianity to the Chamorro people through catechism, while baptizing infants, children and adults at the risk and expense of being persecuted and eventually murdered. Through Calungsod and San Vitores’ missionary efforts, many native Chamorros converted to Roman Catholicism.
Saint Pedro Calungsod was formally beatified on 5 March 2000 by Blessed Pope John Paul II. Calungsod was officially canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s Basilica inVatican City on 21 October 2012.
According to CBCP News, masses, vigils, processions, and musical events have been held across the country on Sunday to celebrate the canonization of the country’s second saint, Pedro Calungsod.
Thousands of faithful gathered at the Santo Niño de Tondo Parish Church in Manila to witness the canonization rites in the Vatican which was shown to them via live streaming.
As Pope Benedict XVI declared Calungsod as saint, the crowd erupted in cheers and applause as a tapestry of the Visayan martyr’s official canonization portrait was unveiled at the church’s loggia.
Mercy Pascual, a sidewalk vendor, said the life of Calungsod should serve as inspiration to all the Filipinos especially the poor.
“He is good a good example for all of us Catholics,” Pascual, 55, said in Tagalog.
In San Juan City, about 4,000 faithful also gathered at the San Juan Arena to watch the canonization shown live using a feed from EWTN downlink.
Waving Philippine flaglets and a mini-flag bearing the face of the new saint, the crowd cheered when the pope called out the name of the second Filipino saint.
A 76-year old woman could not help but be emotional as she watched the canonization ceremony.
“It’s really a different feeling… making me proud to be a Filipino because we have a new saint,” said Norma Reyes.
It was the same for a youth delegate from the Santuario de Sto. Cristo Parish, in San Juan.
“This serves as a reminder and inspiration that each Filipino can make a huge difference in proclaiming our faith,” Monica Francia said.
President Benigno Aquino III has also declared October 21, a national day of celebration to honor Calungsod’s life and martyrdom.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez said that Calungsod’s sainthood only shows that Filipinos are capable of laying down their life for their faith as exemplified by the new saint.
Several activities to celebrate the canonization of Calungsod were also held in Novaliches, Makati City, Malolos, Zambales, Pampanga, and Bacolod.
In Cebu province, a liturgical celebration and other activities was held in Ginatilan town, some 135 kilometers south of Cebu City, believed to be Calugsod’s birthplace.