Last Saturday, the Catholic Church hierarchy launched the 100-day countdown or “the 100 days of Grace” at the Fuente Osmeña for the beatification of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, which will be done in official ceremonies in St. Peter’s Square in Rome on October 21. Already, tour agencies are getting airline seats for Rome in those days… which at this time is already fully booked. Blessed Pedro Calungsod will be the second Filipino Saint.
The first Filipino Saint is St. Lorenzo Ruiz and if there are any similarities between him and Blessed Pedro Calungsod, it is that, both were martyred in foreign lands evangelizing for the Catholic faith. Both were lay (San Lorenzo was a married laity, while Blessed Pedro was a single teenager) and both were Catechists. No, they were not priests or bishops… they were lay people who gave up their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. This should hopefully encourage more lay people to do more to spread the good news of the gospel. After all, we are the first Catholic nation in Asia.
Because there really is no baptismal record of Pedro Calungsod, no one really knows where exactly he came from. For sure, he came from the Visayas because in Cebu province for instance, there are many Calungsods living in the town of Ginatilan, in the southernmost part of Cebu. But there is still no record that Blessed Pedro Calungsod was born there.
While there are Calungsods living in Panay and in Bohol, But in truth, Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson, the Postulator for the cause and canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, told me that the records in Guam where Calungsod was killed spelled his name as “Calungsor.” Upon his research, it turned out that there is no one with that name here. It could have been a misspelling of the last letter in his name.
While in Rome, Msgr. Leyson was assigned by his eminence Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal to do a thorough research on the life of Pedro Calungsod, and he ended up writing a book about the up and coming saint who was martyred on April 2, 1672 in the shores of Guam together with the priest Blessed Luis de San Vitores. Blessed Pedro could have ran away to save his own life, but sensing that the Chamorro were going to kill the priest, he stayed with him… even unto death. Somehow by God’s grace, Blessed Pedro will be canonized ahead of Blessed San Vitores, yet their martyrdom is exactly the same. I guess it’s because of the documented miracle done by invoking the name of Blessed Pedro Calungsod.
The Catholic Church in Manila also came up with a similar activity launched by Manila Archbishop Antonio Luis Tagle, and former Ambassador to the Vatican Henrietta de Villa, who did the countdown during the first Catholic Social Media Summit in Marikina. Indeed, the Philippines is so blessed that lay people who were martyred hundreds of years ago are now being recognized by the Vatican as an example for other Filipinos to follow.