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Pope to Pinoys: May Saint Pedro Calungsod's 'heroic courage' inspire you

October 23, 2012 2:30pm
Pope Benedict XVI said he hopes that Filipinos would be inspired by the heroic courage of the Philippines' new saint — Saint Pedro Calungsod who was canonized at the Vatican on October 21.

In his homily during the Mass after the canonization rites for Calungsod and six other new saints, the pope praised the Filipino saint for courageously facing death during the Marianas mission in the 1600s.

In an article on the website, the pope said, “His desire to win souls for Christ…made him resolute in accepting martyrdom."

“May the example and courageous witness of Pedro Calungsod inspire the dear people of the Philippines to announce the Kingdom bravely and to win souls for God!” the pope said.

A separate article about Calungsod's life on the same website said, Calungsod was a 14-year-old catechist when he was chosen to accompany the Jesuits mission to the Ladrones Islands (Islas de los Ladrones or “Isles of Thieves”) in 1668.

The head of the mission was Jesuit Father Diego Luis de San Vitores.

On April 2, 1672, Calungsod accompanied San Vitores in searching for a runaway companion named Esteban in the village Tumon, Guam. 

While they were in Tumon, San Vitores baptized an infant, the daughter of the village chief Mata'pang, with the consent of her Christian mother.

However, this angered Mata'pang who said he was fed up with Christian teachings.

Mata'pang then hurled spears at Calungsod, who was athletic enough to escape the attack. 

"Witnesses claim that Calungsod could have escaped the attack, but did not want to leave San Vitores alone. Those who knew Calungsod personally meanwhile believed that he could have defeated the aggressors with weapons; San Vitores however banned his companions to carry arms," the article said.

San Vitores and Calungsod both died that day. April 2 is thus the feast day of Calungsod.
Second saint

Calungsod is the second Philippine saint after Saint Lorenzo, a married lay person who was martyred in Japan in 1637, was canonized by Blessed John Paul II in Rome on October 18, 1987. Saint Lorenzo's feast day falls on September 28.
Calungsod beatified on March 5, 2000 by Blessed Pope John Paul II.

To be canonized, a miracle performed by the beatified person must be verified by the Catholic Church after a thorough investigation.

A miracle that happened through the miraculous intercession of Saint Pedro in a hospital in Cebu on March 26, 2003 was the one that paved the way for his canonization.

A doctor asked the help of then-Blessed Pedro in asking God to save a 49-year-old comatose patient  with a Glasglow scale score of three, or the deepest state of coma. It renders a person unable to talk, open their eyes or move the body.
Hours after the doctor prayed to Blessed Pedro, the patient recovered.

On Sunday, Pedro Calungsod was canonized with six other new saints:
(1) Jacques Berthieu, a French martyr and priest of the Society of Jesus;
(2) Giovanni Battista Piamarta, an Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth;
(3) Maria del Carmen, Spanish Foundress of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching;
(4) Marianne Cope, a German religious of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Syracuse, US;
(5) Kateri Tekakwitha, an American laywoman and the first Native American saint; and
(6) Anna Schaffer, a German laywoman.

An earlier report  said Saint Pedro's image occupied the second highest place of honor at Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome during Sunday's canonization.
Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson, Vice-Postulator for the Canonization Cause of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, said the ranking of the saints is decided by three factors:
(1) martyrs rank higher than non-martyrs;
(2) bishops rank higher than priests, and
(3) priests rank higher than religious, and laypeople.

- Andrei Medina, VVP, GMA News
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