Leyte in San Pedro Calungsod’s story of holiness
Most if not all Catholics, particularly the devotees of newly canonized San Pedro Calungsod, must have had their gazed on the screen for the live stream coverage of the thanksgiving mass officiated by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on October 21. It was in said mass that the Philippine’s very own Beato Pedro was hoisted to the highest dignity of honor, the sainthood. San Pedro Calungsod is the second saint coming from this country who nevertheless died in foreign shores like the first Filipino San Lorenzo Ruiz. Focus was in Cebu being his hometown, specifically Ginatilan, and less was noted of Leyte, although this turf placed a part of San Pedro’s sainthood.
The web is now replete with stories about this teenage martyr with a number of them surprisingly citing Leyte to take a part, though insignificantly, of San Pedro Calungsod’s story of holiness. Among them was that posted on Sunstar specials that made mention of Southern Leyte as among the probable places of origin of this awe-inspiring divine persona. It states:
“Very little is known about Pedro Calungsod. Historical records never mentioned his exact place of origin or who his parents were. He was merely identified as a teenage native of the Visayas in the Philippines. Historical research identifies Ginatilan in Cebu, Hinunangan and Hinundayan in Southern Leyte, and Molo district in Iloilo as probable places of origin. Loboc in Bohol also makes a claim. Moreover, no one even really knows how Calungsod looked like.” So it could really be possible that the very young saint, who is perceived to be a likely patron of the youth, the altar servers and catechists, and overseas Filipino workers, could be coming from this part of the Visayas.
Sunstar added: “Calungsod is often depicted as a young man wearing a camisa de chino. He holds the martyr’s palm, indicating his death, or sometimes a crucifix, catechism book or rosary, representing his missionary work. Few details of his early life prior to missionary work and death are known. It is probable that he came to one of the schools run by Jesuits, where he learned Catechism and Spanish language. Nevertheless, we can be certain of Calungsod’s ecclesiastical provenance since the entire Visayas region was under the old Diocese (now Archdiocese) of the Most Holy Name (Cebu).”
How else was Leyte named in the San Pedro Calungsod’s accounts that led to his canonization earlier than Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores of Spain whom he shielded from the spear of a Chamoro in the Islands of Thieves later named Marianas Islands? It should be noted that this brave act of sacrificing his life by receiving the spear-thrust that could have killed first Blessed Diego San Vitores, made San Pedro a martyr. He could have opted to escape or fight for his and the Jesuit priest’s life but he chose to die for his faith. His worthy of canonization much earlier than Blessed Diego San Vitores’ was later proved in the investigation conducted by the Vatican on the account that a comatose woman was healed by his intercession.
Manila Bulletin reported, “The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints confirmed the canonization of Blessed Calungsod. On December 19, 2011, the Vatican verified a miracle attributed to him in 2002, when a Leyte woman who fell into coma hours after a heart attack was brought back to life after the doctor prayed for his intercession. Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a decree acknowledging the miraculous healing.” Sadly though, not one of the national news networks that covered the canonization of San Pedro Calungsod and six others was able to note whether this woman or her doctor was among the thousands of Filipino delegates who personally witnessed the canonization rites in the Basilica in Vatican City in Rome. A national news network correspondent however said that the healed woman is too frail this time to travel to Rome for the canonization.
Manila bulletin further reports that the official image of San Pedro Calungsod “will be flown from the Vatican back to the Philippines on October 25, 2012, and will be welcomed with a grand airport reception. It will visit major cities for the “Duaw Nasud” or National Pilgrimage of Thanksgiving, on October 25-November 27, 2012, starting in Manila to Vigan in Ilocos Sur to Naga City in Camarines Sur, and overnight stops in various archdioceses. After Luzon, the image will be brought to the Visayas and Mindanao. The image is expected to be in Cebu City for the November 30, 2012, thanksgiving Mass, to be capped by fluvial parade and foot procession.”
Leyte, although not significantly to others, played a great part of the narrative on San Pedro Calungsod. Hopefully the official image of this saint, who is revered as “an inspiration to Filipinos, particularly the youth to live a life anchored on values and principles,” will be able to set foot as well on the shores of Leyte. The youthful saint, although to be named “San Pedro Calungsod of Cebu” following his canonization, is the saint of the Filipinos and will always be close to the hearts of the Leyteños especially that the miracle that made him a saint happened on a woman who is from Leyte.
“San Pedro Calungsod, pray for us.”
(NB: Others must have read this narrative posted on guampedia.com. It states: “A Chinese man named Choco, who was living on Guam for about two decades after he was shipwrecked in the Marianas prior to the missionaries’ arrival, as having been the instigator of rumors that would have negative ramifications for the missionaries. Choco promoted the rumor that the baptismal water and anointing oils used in religious rites were killing people, thwarting conversion efforts. The murder of San Vitores and his assistant occurred at the height of a circulation of Choco’s rumors and festering animosity between the Chamorros and the missionaries. San Vitores and Pedro Calungsor were killed in Tumon on april 2, 1672 after he baptized the infant daughter of Chief Mata’pang of Tumon, who was once a Christian convert, without his consent. Matap’ang believed the baptismal waters would kill her. When Matap’ang discovered San Vitores’ actions he enlisted a warrior, Hirao, to kill San Vitores.”)
”May the soul of Choco be forgiven and find a place in Heaven. San Pedro Calungsod, pray for us.
By: Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros
Short URL: http://leytesamardaily.net/?p=34010