A few years back, I have no idea who Blessed Pedro Calungsod is except that he is one of two Filipinos who are elevated to the altar of the saints (the other one being San Lorenzo Ruiz, as we all know), but him having a lower rank still in the patronage of the Church. Today, we only give him due attention because his canonization draws near–October 21 to be exact.
So aside from these facts, what should we care about this holy juvenile hailing from the Visayas?
The answer: A LOT.
By now, the history of his life and martyrdom are now common everywhere, so I would not tackle about it further; rather, I would be talking about his virtue and the lesson that we can get from his martyrdom.
I have no idea how did Calungsod got to Guam in such a young age (he was 17 when he was killed), but the only reason is that he is on missionary work, assisting a Jesuit priest (Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores) in evangelizing the people there. The story goes that a local chieftain was a pagan and is downright allergic to Christianity. While outside the house, his wife pleaded Pedro and the priest to baptize her child. And just like in action movies, the chieftain discovered that his family was patronizing Christianity over the belief system they were used to. While Pedro was young and can run fast to avoid the projectiles hurled by the pagan chief, his companion priest was old and weak–and got hit by a spear. In exchange of his life, Pedro stayed behind him and protected him until he himself was struck dead.
So the important question that we have is: What does it imply to the youth of today?
God calls each and every one of us to do Him service in all ways and means possible. For us, the Filipino youth, we are expected by society to lead our nation in the years to come. But as Catholic Filipinos, we are also duty-bound to do this in the context of truth and charity–and sometimes, sacrifice.
We are called to sacrifice because the Lord Himself did so in Cavalry two millenia ago. He sets the standards and the example of utmost emptying in order for all mankind to imitate this (in a less bloodier way for our age, that is) in order to receive our reward of eternal life.
The Catholic youth of today is duty-bound to evangelize in a fast-paced secular world. Pedro Calungsod just did that: with his blood.
“Be not afraid!”, Bl. John Paul II, Calungsod’s beatifier, reiterated these words from the Scriptures in his very first homily as Pope. Pedro Calungsod was dauntless when he rushed back to aid the wounded priest at the expense of his life. We, too, must be dauntless. We must stand with God and His Church in the pressing issues that are cornering us: liberalism, contraceptive mentality, Ultratraditionalism, Sedevacantism, and most of all, secularism.
John Paul’s successor, Pope Benedict XVI, will canonize Pedro Calungsod, and his patronage would not just be confined to the archipelago set apart by God in the 16th century: San Pedro Calungsod de Cebu, as he would soon be called, will be instrumental for the whole Church in interceding the youth of this generation and beyond. Who knows? He might be one of the saints who would be included to the roster of patrons of World Youth Day in Rio next year.