Blessed St.Pedro Calungsod is now a saint
Calungsod's birthplace and early training
- Pedro Calungsod is a Filipino.
- He saw the first light of day in Molo, Iloilo City circa 1655.
- He went to Cebu and was tutored by the Spanish Jesuit missionaries as a catechist, then studied also under the Jesuit in the town of Loboc, Bohol before joining the evangelization movement in Guam.
- He could read, write and speak the local Visayan dialect, Spanish and Chamorro.
Calungsod joined Padre Diego's mission
- Together with fellow 17 boy catechists, including himself, Calungsod sailed to the Ladrones Islands in the western Pacific in 1668 with some Spanish missionaries from the Philippines led by Padre Diego Luis de San Vitores to convert the Chamorros to the Catholic faith.
- Padre Diego is credited to have covered places in his missionary work from 1662 to 1667 Taytay, Manila, Sta. Ines, Sta. Barbara, Marilaya, Mindoro, etc, all in the Philippines.
- The missionaries experienced severe hardships in the Ladrones.
- Thick jungles and stiff cliffs barred their ways.
- Devastating storms and bad weather frequented the islands.
- What problem pestered them most was their food supply and other missionary provision which failed to come at expected time.
- Despite the difficulties, the missionary team persevered; their Mission counted with plenty of converts.
- By this time the missionaries earned remarkable milestone by renaming the Ladrones Islands to “Marianas” in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Queen Regent of Spain Maria Ana who shouldered the Mission.
Chinese quack Choco was a thorn
- Converts had their children baptized by the missionaries and some of the baptized Chamorro infants especially those that were weak and sickly died.
- Choco- a Chinese quack- saw in this a chance to improve his trade. Envious of the remarkable gain that the missionaries were reaping among the native Chamorros, Choco began to spread rumor that the baptismal water contained poison thus the death of some infants.
- Choco convinced many of the newly Chamorro converts who quickly renounced their faith.
- Choco’s evil campaign was supported by the sorcerers called Macanjas and young male prostitutes call Urritaos who, in connivance with the apostates, started the move of persecuting the missionaries.
In Tomhon to baptize Mata'pang's baby girl
- April 2, 1672- a Saturday immediately before the Passion Sunday of that year- is an indelible assault day perpetrated against the missionaries.
- Calungsod then about 17 years of age and the mission superior Padre Diego Luis de San Vitores visited Tomhom (now Tumon a main tourist district) a village in Guam to baptize a newly born baby girl.
- The baby girl was Mata’pang’s child.
- Mata’pang was the Chamorro chief of Tomhom.
- They asked Mata’pang for permission and to bring out the baby. But Mata’pang though a Christian friend of the missionaries, angrily refused to have his baby baptized.
- Mata’pang became Choco’s convert and had already renounced his newly found Catholic faith.
Mata'pang rudely refused baptism, hatched a plan to kill the missionaries instead
- Mata’pang was afforded time to cool down.
- At the shore nearby Padre Diego and Calungsod treated the children and some adults with religious songs and hymns.
- Mata’pang- when invited to join the group- only shouted that he was already fed up with God and the Christian teachings.
- Chief Mata’pang hatched a sinister plan to kill the missionaries.
- He went to a non-Christian village Chief Hirao to help him implement his evil motive.
- Chief Hirao, fully aware of the kindness and humane treatment of the missionaries towards the natives, refused assistance.
- Mata’pang belittled Hirao’s person by calling him a coward.
- Hirao didn’t like being branded a coward so he gave Matapang his consent.
Death of Padre Diego and Pedro Calungsod
- While Mata’pang was away enlisting the help of Hirao, Padre Diego and Calungsod took advantage of the situation by baptizing Mata’pang’s baby girl with the permission of the Christian mother.
- Mata’pang got mad upon learning of the baptism of his child.
- Furious, he aimed a spear in the direction of Calungsod but swiftly darted away from the on-coming deadly weapon.
- Calungsod who was agile and in the prime of youth, said authoritative witnesses, could have overcome their aggressors if he was armed but Padre Diego never consented to have his companions bring weapons.
- Finally, a bone-tip spear found its mark in Calungsod’s chest.
- The brave boy fell to the ground where Hirao came brandishing and finishing him off with a blow of his home-made machete in the head.
- Padre Diego administered to the fallen sacristan and catechist the sacramental absolution.
- The assassins were not contented killing Calungsod, they likewise speared Padre Diego and hacked him to death with the machete.
Weighted with big stones, the remains of the martyrs were dumped off the ocean
- The crime took place near the ocean. The tale of the murder that was handed from generation to generation told of the ocean turning red on that fateful day.
- Mata’pang took hold of Padre Diego’s crucifix and smashed it to pieces while uttering unholy words against God.
- Mata’pang and Hirao took the clothes off their victims and with large stones tied to their feet dumped them into the sea.
- The remains of the martyrs, it is said, were never recovered.
Testimonial on the disposal of the martyrs' remains and Calungsod beatification
- Josephine Darang of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, in her article “Blessed Pedro Calungsod a candidate for canonization …” bore witness to the truth that the body of Pedro Calungsod was thrown into the sea as told to her by Cathedral Rector of Pasig Fr. Roy Rosales.
- Pope John Paul II beatified Pedro Calungsod on March 5, 2000 at St. Peter’s Square in Rome.
- Calungsod's feast day is celebrated April 2.
- It is believed Padre Diego Luis de San Vitores’ beatification in 1985 paved the way for Pedro Calungsod to be given the same honor.
St. Pedro Calungsod's replica
- There's no picture of the exact person of Blessed Pedro Calungsod on how he looks.
- The current images of Calungsod and his attire were based on description of Visayan males as described by Calungsod's comtemporary Writer Alcina and Pedro Chirino, SJ.
- The Archdiocese of Manila decided to publish in 1998 Jesuit theologian Catalino Arevalo's pamphlet PEDRO CALUNGSOD YOUNG VISAYAN "Proto-Martyr".
- A model was needed and the task was assigned to Ronald Tubid, then 17-year old of Oton, Iloilo.
- Calungsod now bears the face of Tubid. This then became the basis for Rafael del Casal's painting in 1999, which was chosen as the official portrait for Calungsod.
- The Del Casal portrait is the first to feature a Christogram, the seal of the Society of Jesus with which he was affiliated.
- The original painting is now enshrined at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Blessed Pedro Calungsod in Cebu City.
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