Pedro Calungsod, 6 others canonized-A A +A
Sunday, October 21, 2012
CEBU CITY (2nd Update, 6:30 p.m.) -- Pope Benedict XVI canonized the Philippines' second saint on Sunday, giving one of the church's top honors to the 17th century teen martyr Pedro Calungsod before throngs of Filipinos in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.
Cheers went up in the crowd of about 80,000 when Benedict declared Calungsod a saint and worthy of veneration by the entire Catholic Church.
The Pope named six other saints Sunday, some of them missionaries like the devout boy who is believed to be from Ginatilan town in Cebu.
Many Filipino faithful are particularly devoted to Calungsod, who as a teenager went with some Spanish Jesuit missionaries to Guam in 1668 to convert the Chamorros people. He was killed when the natives resisted.
"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!" Benedict said in his homily.
Rome's Filipino expat community came out in droves for the canonization, including Marianna Dieza, a 39-year-old housekeeper who said it was a day of pride for all Filipinos.
"We feel very happy and proud," Dieza said. "We are especially proud because he is so young."
Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay arrived in Rome, Italy last week to head the government delegation for the Mass.
He said the canonization was particularly important to the Philippines, Asia's largest predominantly Roman Catholic country.
In his Twitter account on Sunday, Binay posted: “The canonization of St. #PedroCalungsod is a historic event for the Catholic Church and our nation.”
In the Philippines, thousands of Filipinos celebrated Calungsod's sainthood with Masses, processions, stage plays, religious shows and the launching of postal stamps bearing his image and a map of his journey as a young Catholic missionary to the Pacific islands, where he was killed while spreading his faith.
"This is a day of great spiritual joy and national pride," Philippine President Benigno Aquino III's spokeswoman, Abigail Valte said. "We join the Catholic world on this day of solemn commemoration and celebration."
Celebrations across the Philippines were centered in Manila and in Cebu's town of Ginatilan, where large screens were installed in church compounds to allow Filipinos to watch the canonization.
Calungsod's portraits were also displayed in churches and many bought and carried his statues.
Ginatilan residents erupted in cheers when Pope Benedict XVI declared Calungsod a saint. Church bells rang in the town, as well as in other areas in Cebu and across the country, while confetti was thrown inside the St. Gregory the Great Parish church. The celebration in Ginatilan is ongoing as of this posting.
Calungsod now holds the title “St. Pedro Calungsod, Lay Catechist and Martyr.” He is the Philippines’ second saint after San Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila, who was canonized in 1987 by Pope John Paul II.
Details of Calungsod's life are scarce, but according to legend, when he and the mission superior, the Rev. Diego Luis de San Vitores, tried to baptize a baby in 1672, the child's father angrily refused and, with the help of other natives, began throwing spears at them both. They were both killed and their bodies thrown into the ocean.
Fr. Carmelo Diola told Sun.Star Cebu earlier that “having Calungsod for a saint would lead people to give more dignity to the youth and overseas Filipino workers, appreciating the value of their silent, humble service and dedication to duty.”
“He was only 13 years old then. One can imagine a final farewell. They had no planes or boats to ensure a return to Cebu after a period of time. Nor did they have Internet. So the goodbyes were final,” he said.
On Sunday, about 5,000 Filipino pilgrims attended the liturgical services in Rome, Italy.
Aside from Calungsod, also canonized were French martyr and Jesuit priest Jacques Berthieu, Italian founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Spanish foundress of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching Maria del Carmen (nee Maria Salles y Barangueras), German religious of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Syracuse, USA Maria Anna Cope (nee Barbara), American laywoman Kateri Tekakwitha and German laywoman Anna Schaffer. (AP/Sunnex)