Commercializing the canonization-A A +A
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Isang tulog na lang. The much-awaited canonization of the first Visayan saint, Pedro Calungsod, will take place in the Vatican tomorrow at four in the afternoon, Philippine time. Calungsod will be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI together with six other candidates for sainthood from other nations.
While the main action is in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, the Cebu archdiocese and other church-affiliated organizations here are also organizing religious events. Masses will be held simultaneously in various parishes. There will be live coverage of the event through satellite offered by some international and local television channels.
Celebration is being prepared in Ginatilan, which claims Calungsod as its own. Tonight, a play featuring Calungsod's life written and directed by dySS Super Radyo anchor Aljin Abaquita will be staged in the town plaza. A fiesta mood will blanket the town tomorrow because the local government unit and the parish are holding religious and cultural presentations.
But as I wrote before, there are as yet no historical records to prove that Calungsod was a native of that town. Researchers are not even sure of his family name. Some mentioned Calunsar, Calansar, Calungsor. The Calungsods are natives of the place.
Very little is known about Calungsod. Historical records did not mention his exact place of origin or who his parents were. He was merely identified as a teenage native of the Visayas. Probable places of origin are Ginatilan in Cebu, Hinunangan and Hinundayan in Southern Leyte and Molo district in Iloilo. Loboc, Bohol also made a claim.
Sige na lang ato na lang pa-undayonan sa ilang gibati ang taga-Ginatilan. Unsa-on nga mao man gyud ilang pagtuo nga ilang kababayan si Pedro.
No one knows how Calungsod looked like. He is often depicted as a young man wearing a camisa de chino and holding either a martyr's palm or a crucifix, catechism book (Doctrina Cristiana) or rosary, representing his missionary work. Because of the controversy about his background, the Cebu archdiocese dropped the idea of calling him San Pedro Calungsod de Cebu.
But even if Calungsod is already a saint, the Church should continue to conduct more research about his identity and origin. This is to erase doubts about his background. I don’t think the failure to establish his place of origin would affect our faith and belief in him, but this is a nagging question that should be resolved.
Now we know how costly it is to canonize somebody. The Church needed P60 million to prepare for the rituals here and in Rome. The structure that will be used for the national thanksgiving mass on Nov. 30 at the South Road Properties (SRP) needs funds for its completion. And mind you, it will just be used once.
Meanwhile, what alarms me is the enterprising activity or money-making venture related to this activity. This includes even the Church. Sculptures are jacking up the prizes of Calungsod statues. Souvenir items like t-shirts, pins, comics, medallion and even stuffed toys are in the market. The church is even selling these items. Is this being encouraged by church leaders?
I remember that the Church has been commenting about the supposed commercialization of the annual Sinulog celebration. And the church itself is now the one transforming this Calungsod thing into an entrepreneurial scheme.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 20, 2012.