FIVE years ago today, the country was given the honor of having its second saint.
But what most people don’t know is that St. Pedro Calungsod would not be recognized today if not for the efforts of the late Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.
“He (Vidal) was the driving force that allowed Pedro’s cause to push through,” Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson told SunStar Cebu yesterday.
Leyson, who was the main postulator for Calungsod’s cause and is currently the parish priest of the Birhen delos Remedios Parish in Barangay Odlot, Bogo City, said Vidal first discovered Calungsod during the beatification of Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores in 1986.
A church official from Guam informed Vidal that San Vitores’s teenage assistant, who was killed with him in 1672, was a Cebuano.
Vidal immediately spearheaded efforts for Calungsod’s sainthood when he returned to Cebu.
In 1997, Vidal chose Leyson, who was a newly ordained priest taking up his doctoral studies in Rome, to initiate the task of researching and preparing all documents in preparation for Calungsod’s bid for sainthood.
After three years of grueling research and preparation, Calungsod was beatified in March 2000. Pope John Paul II also approved Calungsod’s cause for beatification.
But Leyson and Vidal weren’t done yet.
To prepare Calungsod for sainthood, they needed a genuine miracle.
Leyson admitted that it was during the process of sainthood that he saw the late archbishop at his “anxious state.”
He recalled one time when he invited Vidal to join a panel of medical doctors and priests to examine all miraculous cases allegedly attributed to Calungsod.
“It was the first time that I saw Cardinal Vidal worried. He told me ‘I didn’t realize it was that difficult’,” Leyson recalled.
Vidal was also instrumental in securing the documentary evidence and testimonies from Guam for Calungsod’s cause.
Leyson and Vidal even went to Guam to secure the evidence and even offered a memorable mass at the site where Calungsod was killed.
When Leyson heard that Vidal died on Oct. 18, he saw it as symbolic as it was on the same date that members of the Filipino delegation in Rome started the three-day novena masses for Calungsod’s canonization.
“I am hopeful that St. Pedro was waiting for him in Heaven,” Leyson said. (JKV)