Day in history: The Second Filipino Saint-A A +A
Saturday, October 20, 2012
BUT more than just a mere regional accomplishment, the entire nation must be really proud to recognize this young Filipino boy as an example of holiness during times of brutal adversity.
According to an online article posted by Msgr. Ildebrando Jesus Aliño Leyson on pedrocalungsod.org, Calungsod was generally described through the writings of missionary companions as a “youngster.”
“(He was) a mozo, a mocito, a mancebo, a mancebito, a iuvenis, a jeune home, a muchacho, a niño—when he was martyred on April 2, 1672,” wrote Leyson.
The writer goes on more to define the probable age when Calungsod died for the Catholic faith.
“The descriptions given to Blessed Pedro—mozo, mancebo, iuvenis, jeune home and muchacho—can be applied to young males of different ages. Yet, the diminutives mocito, mancebito and niño reveal that he was very young, just in his teens.”
“That may not be surprising as even the Jesuit missionaries in the Visayas at that time used to employ young boys between 12 and 14 years old as their mission assistants.”
According to Wikipedia, Pedro Calungsod was a “young Roman Catholic Filipino sacristan and missionary catechist, who along with Spanish Jesuit missionary Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered religious persecution and martyrdom on Guam for their missionary work in 1672.”
“Missionary life was difficult as provisions did not arrive regularly, the jungles and terrain were difficult to traverse and the islands were frequently devastated by typhoons. Despite all these, the mission persevered and (the missionaries) were able to convert a significant number of locals,” the site added.
Historical records reveal that Calungsod died when the local chief named Mata’pang, thrust a spear into the boy’s chest.
Immobilized, Calungsod was struck by a machete to the head by another assassin named Hirao. This was due to the rage of the chief upon finding out that Calungsod, together with San Vitores, baptized his daughter without his consent. San Vitores was also killed.
It was believed that Mata’pang’s wife consented to the baptism. Mata’pang thought that the holy water used in baptism had caused the deaths of babies in the area.
The killers then tied large stones to the feet of both corpses and threw the bodies in the middle of the sea.
Calungsod’s exact place of birth remains unknown until this day. Records only clue historians of his origin because of references to him as Pedro Calonsor, El Visayo. Online sources would state that the likely places where the boy could have been from are Ginatilan, Cebu; Hinunangan and Hinundayan, Southern Leyte; Molo district, Iloilo and Loboc, Bohol. To note, these places were part of the “Diocese of Cebu” during that time.
A fierce follower of Christ until the time of his death, Calungsod’s canonization is indeed a timely reminder for the youth of today, most especially young Filipinos, to remember God in the light of this modern age.
In general, this historical event sparks a revival of the Catholic faith in the entire country. Today, as the Church officially declares the second Filipino saint, the nation celebrates with jubilee for its homegrown intercessor.
“St. Pedro Calungsod, pray for us.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 21, 2012.