CEBU City, July 19, 2012―Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal urged the faithful to learn from the values of Pedro Calungsod and put the needs of others ahead of their own.
During his homily at the launching of the 100-day countdown to the canonization of Pedro Calungsod at the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino on July 14, the cardinal said Pedro’s martyrdom was also an act of solidarity in faith.
What Pedro did was an act of solidarity in faith because even if he could have saved his own life, he chose to stay with Fr. Diego Sanvitores even it meant death for him, Vidal said.
“He stayed, and that made all the difference,” the cardinal emphasized. “No matter how idealistic young people may be, if they cannot endure inconvenience and discomfort, they will not be able to practice solidarity.”
Vidal reminded the faithful not to be afraid of those who can kill the body but has no power to kill the soul. He said the Lord reminded everyone to be afraid of those who can destroy both body and soul in hell.
He called on the faithful to let go of attachments and endure inconveniences, practice solidarity with neighbors and grow in holiness of life.
Quoting Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma, Vidal said “as we draw closer to the canonization, and as we move forward in our preparations, we must avail of the grace of the moment and grow in holiness.”
He urged the people not to be too preoccupied with the preparations, but instead allow these to “purify us as well and draw us closer to each other, thus building up the Christian community.”
The 81-year old cardinal said the 100 days to the canonization in Rome “must be a time of grace for all of us.” He added, however that “it will be only if we open ourselves to the outpouring.”
He further said that another Filipino will be raised to the honor of the altar and a “new intercessor is given us, a new model to emulate, a new name to invoke in heaven.”
“When we invoke his name, do we know how much he went through to be able to intercede for us? Do we know him beyond by which he is invoked?” he further asked.
The prelate emphasized that saints are declared to glorify God even as he called on the faithful to “nurture the hope of becoming a fellow citizen with him in heaven.”
Admitting that although very little is known about Blessed Pedro Calungsod, still what is known is enough inspiration for people to emulate.
Pedro Calungsod was a young man who left his native land to accompany a Jesuit’s mission to the Marianas.
He assisted Padre Diego de Sanvitores in evangelizing the natives in Guam and together with the priest was martyred by natives.
Despite his youth and agility that could have saved his life, Pedro did not abandon Fr. Diego and both were killed and beheaded.
Vidal said though Pedro’s mission and martyrdom can be written in a paragraph or two, “its significance can fill up many volumes.”
Had it not been for the late Guam Archbishop Flores who told Cardinal Vidal about a young lad who assisted the priest whose cause the former was promoting, Blessed Pedro Calungsod’s name would have remained buried in the Jesuit archives in Rome, Vidal explained. It took 313 years for the Catholic church in the Philippines to pursue the cause of the young man who offered his life for the faith.
Vidal noted the postulator for the case of Blessed Diego de Sanvitores did not include Pedro as a companion martyr because his inclusion might only delay the case.
“As Providence would have it, Pedro Calungsod was bound to have his own name invoked in the litany of saints,” Vidal said. (Melo Acuna/CBCPNews)