CEBU CITY—The Vatican announced over the weekend the canonization of 17th century Visayan martyr Pedro Calungsod on October 21, making him the country’s second Catholic saint.
The announcement followed the approval by Pope Benedict XVI of the canonization of Calungsod, according to the Vatican’s official news website.
The Pope made the announcement through Angelo Cardinal Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, at St. Peter’s Basilica following a ceremony in which 22 bishops from around the world were elevated to the rank of cardinal.
Those to be canonized on October 21 along with Calungsod are Jacques Berthieu, a French martyr and priest of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits); Giovanni Battista Piamarta, an Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth and of the Congregation of the Humble Sister Servants of the Lord; Maria del Carmen, a Spanish founder of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching; Maria Anna Cope, a German religious of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Syracuse; Kateri Tekakwitha, an American laywoman, and Anna Schaffer, a German laywoman.
Calungsod will be the second Filipino to be canonized in the history of the Catholic Church after Pope John Paul II canonized Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila in 1987. Both Calungsod, who hailed from Cebu, and Ruiz were lay persons.
Ruiz, a parish scribe and former altar boy who was born in Binondo, Manila, was martyred in Japan in 1637.
Calungsod was born in 1655 in what was then the Diocese of Cebu which covered the islands of Panay and Mindanao, as well as the Pacific island of Guam.
A lay catechist, he died at 17 in Guam while trying to defend his fellow mission worker, Jesuit priest and now Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, when natives attacked them on April 2, 1672.
Calungsod was struck by a spear and his skull was split by a machete blow. Their bodies were then tied together and thrown into the sea.
The latest announcement is expected to push preparations for Calungsod’s canonization to full swing in the Archdiocese of Cebu, where the archbishop emeritus, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, was the lead promoter of the campaign for Calungsod’s canonization.
Since his beatification in 2000 by Pope John Paul II, Cebuanos have been offering prayers through Calungsod.
The Vatican earlier recognized the recovery from a deep coma of a Cebu businesswoman as a miracle obtained through Calungsod’s intercession.
On March 5, 2000, Pope John Paul II beatified Calungsod along with 43 other martyrs in ceremonies held at St. Peter’s Square in Rome. The Vatican officially set April 2 as Calungsod’s feast day.
In his homily during the beatification, John Paul called on the youth to emulate Calungsod.
“From his childhood, Pedro Calungsod declared himself unwaveringly for Christ and responded generously to His call. Young people today can draw encouragement and strength from the example of Pedro, whose love of Jesus inspired him to devote his teenage years to teaching the faith as a lay catechist,” John Paul said.