Blessed Peter Calungsod

As the Church prepares to welcome seven new saints this month, ZENIT will feature an article, from Oct. 11 -21, on each of these remarkable servants of God.

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ROME, OCT. 16, 2012 ( On Oct. 21, Pope Benedict XVI will canonize Blessed Pedro Calungsod who gave his life for the faith on April 2, 1672, in Guam.

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

He died trying to protect his mentor, Jesuit Father Diego Jose Luis San Vitores, a missionary who was killed. Two Chamorro chiefs pursued the missionaries when they learned Father San Vitores had baptized a chief’s daughter without his consent.

Calungsod, a native of Cebu province in the Philippines, «was the first to be attacked in the assault,» explained Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson of the Cebu Archdiocese. «And they marveled how he was so skillful in evading the darts of the spears … until finally he was hit in the chest. He fell and the other assassin split his skull.»

He will be the second Filipino saint after San Lorenzo Ruiz.

To mark the event of his canonization 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.

Prishes, youth organizations and religious groups will hold activities during the canonization day of Blessed Pedro Calungsod on October 21, according to news posted on the Web site of the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

In the Archdiocese of Manila people, particularly the young, will gather at the St. Niño de Tondo Parish for a program on the canonization of Pedro Calungsod which will be held from 2:30-7:00 p.m. followed by a youth mass at 8:00 o’clock in the evening.

Another group will also organize an event titled “San Pedro 10.21” at the San Juan Arena in San Juan City from 1:30-6:00 p.m. bringing the canonization rite in Rome to the Philippines via satellite feed in real time.

Meanwhile in Cebu, the Commission on Youth of the Archdiocese of Cebu and the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City, together with the city administration, are inviting people to watch a live telecast of the canonization.

“From his childhood, Pedro Calungsod declared himself unwaveringly for Christ and responded generously to his call,” said Pope John Paul II in his homily when he beatified Calungsod and others on March 5, 2000.

“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 II said.

In a spirit of faith, marked by strong Eucharistic and Marian devotion, Pedro undertook the demanding work asked of him and bravely faced the many obstacles and difficulties he met,” the pope added.

Today he intercedes for the young, in particular those of his native Philippines, and he challenges them, John Paul II commented. “Young friends, do not hesitate to follow the example of Pedro, who «pleased God and was loved by him» (Wis 4: 10) and who, having come to perfection in so short a time, lived a full life (cf. ibid., v. 13).”

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