Les Philippins vont voir et pour certains assister, le 21 octobre prochain, à la canonisation de leur second Saint.

Mais la chose n’a pas été aussi simple, le chemin fût long de l’archipel à Rome pour Pedro Calungsod.

PILGRIMS flying to Rome, Italy to witness the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod will have to seek the endorsement of the Cebu archbishop.

They’re required to attend catechism classes, said Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson, Blessed Pedro Calungsod Shrine administrator.

 He pointed out that the directive may not be strictly implemented but many of those going to Rome in October will be making side trips to other European cities.

“The focus of the celebration should be on the spiritual preparation of the people,” said Leyson, who was the postulator of Calungsod during the canonization process.

Penitential services

“There would be penitential services available to those who would be attending the national thanksgiving mass,” he said.

Pope Benedict XVI announced the canonization date for Calungsod after he promulgated a decree acknowledging the miraculous healing attributed to Calungsod’s intercession
At the shrine, the concern is how to encourage the youth to identify with the Visayan martyr, Leyson said.

“The purpose of canonizations is not just for celebrations. There should be intense preparation of the people,” he said.

“Pilgrims… should know what is going on, how the canonization is relevant to their lives,” he added.

Leyson said a series of catechisms is being organized by Msgr. Vicente Tupas Jr., who serves as director of the Archdiocesan Catechetical Center.

Calungsod will be the country’s second saint. The first saint was Lorenzo Ruiz, who was also a martyr who died for his faith in Nagasaki, Japan. He worked as a calligrapher for the Dominican parish of Binondo, Manila.

Ruiz was the first person to be beatified outside Vatican City during liturgical rites held in Manila by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1981. He was canonized six years after.

In a related development, the Provincial Government will provide security for canonization activities here in Cebu. However, it will have to look into giving financial assistance as this might violate a constitutional provision separating the church and state.

“While the canonization is a religious activity, it also concerns the general welfare of the people (attending it) since they are Cebuanos,” Gov. Gwen Garcia said.

Article II, Section 6 of the Constitution states: “The separation of the Church and State shall be inviolable.”

THE construction work officially started yesterday on the site of the national thanksgiving mass for the sainthood of Blessed Pedro Calungsod.

The mass will be held on Nov. 30 or almost a month after Pope Benedict XVI leads the canonization rites for Calungsod and six other blessed persons in Rome, Italy.
Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, the head of the national preparations committee for the canonization activities, led the blessing at the South Road Properties (SRP) where a templete or place for mass is being built.

 “This place will now become a historical site,” the prelate said in his message to the participants. He also called on the people to join the celebration and “make the place holy and historical.”

Also present at the groundbreaking ceremony were Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and church officials including Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes, Vicars General Monsignori Roberto Alesna and Cayetano Gelbolingo.

Cardinal Vidal and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma earlier sent a letter to Rama seeking the declaration of the templete as a heritage site.

In a separate interview, Rama said he supports the prelates’ stand but the letter of request still had to be sent to the City Council and the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (CHAC).

“It is not a problem with the mayor, as long as everything is complied with,” he told reporters.

Governor Garcia also expressed support for the request, telling the reporters that “we believe he comes from the province of Cebu. He (Blessed Pedro Calungsod) should be given a monumental honor.”

“The canonization, which happens once in many generations, deserves a landmark,” she added.

Calungsod was a teenaged catechist who served with the Jesuit mission in the Marianas from June 1668 until his death on April 2, 1672.
The template, or shrine, is the structure where the mass and other spiritual activities after the canonization rites of Calungsod in Rome will be celebrated.

Cardinal Vidal also presided over the meeting of the preparations committee held at the Archbishop’s Residence after the groundbreaking rites at the SRP.

He told reporters the committee is moving to the next phase after all the preparatory works of the various committees were approved yesterday.

“We have not seen any obstacle (in the preparations). Everybody is trying to do their work assigned to them,” said Cardinal Vidal.

The image of Blessed Pedro Calungsod is set to fly to Vatican City in Italy on October 16 for his canonization.

 The three-foot tall image of Calungsod will be flying out via Cathay Pacific from Cebu City five days before the historic event that will give the Philippines its second saint, according to a report posted on the website of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

The image will depart at 12:30 p.m., the report said.

Several activities are lined up in Cebu prior to image's departure.

On October 15, the image will be brought to a nearby shrine named after Calungsod from the Cebu Archbishop's residence in Cebu City for a Mass at 6:30 p.m.

The next day, Fr. Charles Jayme said the image will be carried from the shrine to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral for another liturgical celebration at 4:30 a.m.

A motorcade will follow around 8 a.m. from the cathedral to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City.

The report said Cathay Pacific had offered to carry the image as a passenger instead of just treating it as an ordinary hand baggage or cargo.

"The image will be among the passengers and not as cargo. We'll be seated together," said the report quoting Jayme, who was designated by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma as the official custodian of Calungsod's image.

"I really take it as a blessing and gift from God being chosen for this. This is a humbling experience for me," Jayme said.

Calungsod, along with six others, is set to be canonized as a saint on October 21 in Vatican by Pope Benedict XVI making him the second Filipino saint after San Lorenzo Ruiz.


Calungsod (spelled Calonsor in Spanish records) was born ca. 1655. Historical records never mentioned his exact place of origin and merely identified him as "Bisaya". 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. These places were parts of the Diocese of Cebu during the time of Calungsod's martyrdom.

Few details of his early life prior to missionary work and death are known. It is probable that he received basic education at a Jesuit boarding school, mastering the Catechism and learning to communicate in Spanish. He likely honed his skills in drawing, painting, singing, acting, and carpentry as these were necessary in missionary work.

Calungsod would have been expected to have some aptitude in serving in the Tridentine Mass (now known as the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite).

Calungsod, then around 14, was among the exemplary young catechists chosen to accompany the Jesuits in their mission to the Ladrones Islands (Islas de los Ladrones or “Isles of Thieves”).

In 1668, Calungsod travelled with Spanish Jesuit missionaries to these islands, renamed the Mariana Islands (Las Islas de Mariana) the year before in honour of both the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Queen Regent of Spain, María Ana of Austria, who funded their voyage. Calungsod and San Vitores went to Guam to catechise the native Chamorros.

Missionary life was difficult as provisions did not arrive regularly, the jungles and terrain was difficult to traverse, and the islands were frequently devastated by typhoons. Despite all these, the mission persevered, and was able to convert a significant number of locals.


A Japanese merchant named Choco began spreading rumours that the baptismal water used by missionaries was poisonous. As some sickly Chamorro infants who were baptised eventually died, many believed the story and held the missionaries responsible. Choco was readily supported by the macanjas (medicine men) and the urritaos (young males) who despised the missionaries.

In their search for a runaway companion named Esteban, Calungsod and San Vitores came to the village of Tumon, Guam on 2 April 1672. There they learnt that the wife of the village chief Mata'pang gave birth to a daughter, and they immediately went to baptise the child. Influenced by the calumnies of Choco, the chief strongly opposed : to give Mata'pang some time to calm down, the missionaries gathered the children and some adults of the village at the nearby shore and started chanting with them the tenets of the Catholic religion. 

They invited Mata'pang to join them, but he shouted back that he was angry with God and was fed up with Christian teachings.

Determined to kill the missionaries, Mata'pang went away and tried to enlist another villager, named Hirao, who was not a Christian. Hirao initially refused, mindful of the missionaries' kindness towards the natives, but when Mata'pang branded him a coward, he became piqued and capitulated. Meanwhile, during that brief absence of Mata'pang from his hut, San Vitores and Calungsod baptised the baby girl, with the consent of her Christian mother.

When Mata'pang learnt of his daughter's baptism, he became even more furious. He violently hurled spears first at Pedro, who was able to dodge the spears. Witnesses claim that Calungsod could have escaped the attack, but did not want to leave San Vitores alone.

Those who knew Calungsod personally meanwhile believed that he could have defeated the aggressors with weapons; San Vitores however banned his companions to carry arms. Calungsod was hit in the chest by a spear and he fell to the ground, then Hirao immediately charged towards him and finished him off with machete blow to the head. San Vitores absolved Calungsod before he too was killed..

Mata'pang took San Vitores' crucifix and pounded it with a stone whilst blaspheming God. Both assassins then denuded the corpses of Calungsod and San Vitroes, tied large stones to their feet, brought them out to sea on their proas and threw them into the water.

In the Roman Catholic Church, Calungsod's martyrdom is called In Odium Fidei or In Hatred of the Faith, referring to the religious persecution endured by the person in evangelisation.

Bon courage Pedro Calungdod, le chemin est encore long !

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