Filipinos rejoice as the Vatican lifts Cebu native Pedro Calungsod to sainthood Sunday, an event that Malacanang says marks "great spiritual joy."
Calungsod, born in 1654, was a missionary and suffered "religious persecution" before dying on April 2, 1672.
Church bells rang in different parts of the country as Pope Benedict XVI declared San Pedro Calungsod a Saint.
The Pope himself lauded Saint Pedro Calungsod's martyrdom, and noted that the Filipino Saint "lived a life of purity and dedication."
In his homily, the Pope noted that Saint Calungsod "could have fled for safety" following threats to his life while in a mission in Guam but chose to die in defense of his faith. The Pope also hoped that Saint Calungsod would “inspire the dear people of the Philippines to announce the kingdom bravely & win souls for God.”
During a mission in Guam, Calungsod, along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, defied threats and persecutions just to preach Christianity. He also helped baptize infants and was able to help convert Chamorros to Catholicism.
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"This is a day of great spiritual joy and national pride not only for
Filipino Catholics, but for all those who call the Philippines their
home, especially our countrymen in the Visayas and Mindanao,”
Presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is leading the Philippine delegation to Rome, said Calungsod's canonization "fills us with pride as Catholics."
"It also calls on us to exercise humility and reflect on the supreme sacrifice made by St. Calungsod in defense of his faith," Binay said in a statement.
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"As a nation and as a people, we are embarking on a
journey towards a better future. The challenges are many, yet with
unity, courage and faith in the Almighty, I am extremely confident that
we will rise above these challenges. Let us continue praying for
ourselves, our loved ones, and our nation," the Vice President added.
Upon the initiation of His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal in 1994, Saint Pedro Calungsod was later beatified in 2000 by Pope John Paul II.
"In 12 short years, the canonical requirements for his canonization has been fulfilled. We join the Catholic world on this day of solemn commemoration and celebration,” Valte said.
Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino Saint, was canonized in 1987. He was killed in Japan for refusing to drop Catholicism.
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