Philippines Looking Forward to Canonization of Native Son

Also Celebrating 5 Centuries of Christianity

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CEBU, Philippines, AUG. 30, 2012 ( On Oct. 21, Benedict XVI will canonize Blessed Pedro Calungsod who gave his life for the faith on April 2, 1672, in Guam.

The canonization will take place during the Synod of Bishops on the theme of the New Evangelization and just after the start of the Year of Faith, which commences Oct. 11.

Calungsod was a Filipino lay catechist born in 1654 and was doing a missionary work in Guam at age 17. Blessed John Paul II beatified him on March 5, 2000.

The archbishop of Cebu launched the period of preparation for the ceremony at the Fuente Osmeña in Cebu City in July.

According to information recently published by the Philippines Bishops’ Conference the miracle leading to Calungsod’s canonization, approved by the Vatican last year, involved a woman who almost died due to a lack of oxygen.

Monsignor Ildebrando Leyson, the lead advocate for Calungsod’s sainthood, said that the miracle took place in 2003. Leyson said the woman was comatose caused by hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a deadly condition in which the brain does not receive enough oxygen.

“The doctor himself who knew the situation that the patient would die anytime prayed before Pedro Calungsod, to save the life of his patient,” Leyson said, in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Web site.

Four hours later, the woman regained consciousness, he said, which surprised the doctor taking care of the patient.

An article published on the Web site of the Archdiocese of Cebu by Mongisnor Dennis Villarojo linked Calungsod with the New Evangelization. He lived in “vastly different times from ours,” he admitted.

“Yet, the values which he lived are no different from the values we need to embody in the new evangelization. In particular, his boldness in leaving home and accompanying the missionaries to spread the Gospel in a possibly hostile environment is a call for us to be also courageous in giving witness to Christ in our present circumstances,” he said.

Catholics in the Philippines are taking part in a celebration of a “100 days of grace” leading up to the canonization. A pastoral letter published earlier this year by the bishops of the Philippines noted that March 16 this year marked the 500thanniversary of the arrival of Christianity to their land.

The Church in the Philippines will undertake a nine-year spiritual program, starting on the date of Calungsod’s canonization, and lasting until March 2021.

Calungsod will be canonized with six others, along with the first Native American saint, Kateri Tekakwitha.

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