Churches all over Philippines celebrate a day of great joy-A A +A
Monday, October 22, 2012
CEBU CITY -- The names of San Pedro Calungsod, Filipino lay catechist, and six new saints were included Sunday in the list of those the Catholic Church has declared intercessors in heaven.
It was a day of joy for thousands of Cebuanos who attended the canonization mass that lasted for more than three hours, and millions of others who viewed the televised broadcast in their parishes, homes and inside the compound of the Archbishop’s Residence in Cebu City.
Cheers went up in the crowd of about 80,000 at St. Peter’s Square when Pope Benedict XVI declared Calungsod a saint and worthy of veneration by the entire Catholic Church. He named six other saints Sunday, some of them missionaries like Calungsod.
Calungsod was a teenager who went with some Spanish Jesuit missionaries to Guam in 1668 to convert the Chamorros people. He was killed there.
“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 in his homily.
Cebuanos clapped boisterously at the mention of the name of the second Filipino saint. Clapping erupted, too, in the SPFY covered court at the Archbishop’s Residence in Cebu.
Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes, in a text message to Sun.Star Cebu, said there were occasional outbursts from the pilgrims coming from different countries representing the newly canonized saints.
“Di mapugngan (They couldn’t help but clap),” he said, adding that during the canonization rites, the audience was asked to refrain from clapping, cheering and waving flags to maintain the rites solemn.
Fr. Charles Jayme, the official custodian of the pilgrim image of San Pedro Calungsod, told Sun.Star Cebu that the first round of cheering was heard for the performance of the Mandaue Children and Youth Choir.
The multi-awarded Cebuano choir was in the sanctuary of St. Peter’s Square, at the choir loft, when they sang right before the canonization rites began.
Clapping resumed at the mention of Calungsod’s name during the canonization rite, and the third time the Filipino community cheered was when Pope Benedict XVI mentioned the Philippines after leading the Angelus, which was right after the mass.
“The Filipino pilgrims occupied two-thirds of the square and we cheered the loudest while waving Philippine flags after the Pope mentioned the Philippines,” said Fr. Jose Quilongquilong SJ, Loyola House of Studies rector.
Quilongquilong, a Cebuano, was the priest who assisted in the investigation of Calungsod in Guam.
He said the mood at the square was festive and the Filipino community was the biggest delegation present.
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 was so young.”
The people watching the live telecast clapped upon seeing familiar faces on the screen, including that of Mary Rose Villacastin-Maghuyop. The crowd clapped louder when they heard her read her petition in Cebuano.
Before she left for Rome, she told Sun.Star Cebu that she was chosen by Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson, the postulator for the cause of the canonization of Calungsod. Her daughters, Soleil Marie and Mayumi Mari, are members of the Mandaue Children and Youth Chorus.
The children sang during the solemn vigil and the vespers Sunday night, and are set to sing again today, Monday, during the thanksgiving mass.
“She and her mother Madamme (Delia) Villacastin are both shrine volunteers,” said Margie Matheu, of the secretariat for the canonization celebration committee.
The crowd was elated when they saw Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, who read the anamnesis (Greek for remembrance) or the prayer before the communion.
Fr. Jason Dy, SJ, Archdiocesan Shrine of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus assistant parish priest, said parishioners watched the video streaming of GMA 7’s coverage.
“People were clapping when the Pope announced it. But some people were commenting that they did not really understand too well since it was in Latin,” he said.
“Our parish sacristan was the one who rang the church’s electronic bell chimes,” he added.
At the SPFY gym, the people watched the canonization rites, which took place before the mass. When the Pope approved of the petition recited by Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Amato, there was no immediate reaction from the people -- after all, the announcement was in Latin.
Still, clapping, cheering and prayer were the most common reactions in churches that celebrated the big event.
At the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Chapel of the San Alberto Carmelite Formation Center in Talamban, Cebu City, Fr. Paul Medina said the people “clasped their hands in prayer. We had a thanksgiving and during the mass at 5 p.m., I asked the people to pray in silence their petitions.”
In Cavite, Augustinian priest Charlie Orobia said “people were so happy, they felt proud being Filipino, they realized how good and religious Filipinos are in the person of St. Pedro Calungsod.”
In Ginatilan, Cebu, which claims Calungsod as a town mate, the reaction before a live telecast was that of elation, said San Gregorio Magno parish priest Fr. Gerardo dela Victoria of Ginatilan.
“May we show our gratitude in prayer and works of love,” Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma told Sun.Star Cebu in a text message from Rome.
“Let us praise God for the gift of San Pedro Calungsod. With his canonization today he belongs not only to Cebu, not only to the Philippines,” said Palma.
“He belongs to the world. But today God reminds us (that) San Pedro and all of us belong to God. We are his own, his beloved family. Blessed be God. Viva san Pedro Calungsod,” he added.
After the canonization, a luncheon was held at the Collegio Filipino in Rome, hosted by the Philippine Church officials.
Matheu said that archbishops, bishops, monsingori, chairmen and members of the canonization celebration committees attended, along with some couples from Cebu who have been helping in the preparations.
“The Calungsod family who listed with the secretariat, led by Gen. Jaime Calungsod Jr. (were invited to the luncheon),” she said.
The Vatican officials who were invited were led by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Amato.
The pilgrim image, after the canonization, was enshrined at the Our Lady of Good Voyage chapel, at the Collegio Filipino.
It will be brought to the Chiesa di Santa Pudenciana for the vespers and procession.
The vespers, with the theme “Dying for the Catholic Faith,” will be led by Archbishop Palma, and the Mandaue Children and Youth Chorus will perform.
A thanksgiving mass will be led today by Cardinal Vidal at the St. Peter’s Basilica, with the theme “Our Vocation to Sanctity.” The preacher will be the Archbishop of Agaña, Guam and the choir will still be the Mandaue chorus.
In Mandaue, more than 2,000 people, many of them young like Calungsod, celebrated the canonization during a live streaming of the event.
What started out as a simple gathering to pay tribute to the second Filipino saint turned into a celebration, with the youth from eight districts of the Cebu Archdiocese gathered at the Mandaue City Sports Complex.
Teenagers attending the festivities that started at 1 p.m. started cheering and applauding when Pope Benedict XVI declared Calungsod a saint.
“It’s like one of Manny Pacquiao’s fights,” said Mark Lester Dizon, 14, in describing the event’s festive air.
The group Barkada ni Pedro, who organized the event, was overwhelmed by the turnout of people who came to support its event. The group is under the Cebu Archdiocese’s Commission on Youth (COY).
Edna Arellano of Barkada ni Pedro told reporters their group earlier planned to hold a simple event, if only to attract the youth to the broadcast of Calungsod’s canonization. She said they didn’t expect the crowd to be that large.
Melanie Jhane Dublin, 12, a student of the Mandaue City Comprehensive National High School, was one of those who witnessed Sunday’s event.
“I’m happy that someone like me, a Cebuano and a teenager, became a saint. Dili pa diay hopeless nga masanto ta,” Dublin said.
After the live streaming of the canonization rites in Rome, the Sandiego dancers and teenagers from Barangay Parian, Cebu City performed a drama depicting the life of the newly canonized Filipino saint.
Thousands of Filipinos at home 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,” President Benigno Aquino III’s spokeswoman, Abigail Valte, said. “We join the Catholic world on this day of solemn commemoration and celebration.”
Large screens were installed in church compounds to allow parishioners to watch Calungsod’s canonization at the Vatican. Calungsod’s portraits were displayed in churches and many bought and carried his statues.
Local television networks ran documentaries about Calungsod’s life and sainthood.
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.
The first Filipino saint was St. Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila, who was canonized in 1987. (With reports from AP/Justin K. Vestil/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 22, 2012.