The Filipino Saint Pedro Calungsod

MANILA, Philippines - After the installation of 22 New Cardinals in liturgical rites held at St. Peter's Basilica on February 18, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI officially announced the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod and six other blessed persons.

Born in 1655 in Iloilo, Pedro came to Cebu to preach Christianity, using the missionary text Doctrina Christiana as propagated by the Dominican priests. He then studied at the Jesuit town of Loboc in Bohol before sailing on to Guam. At 14, he was among the young catechists chosen to accompany the Jesuits in their mission to the Marianas Islands. He was 17 when he, along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered martyrdom in Guam for their missionary work in 1672.

On March 5, 2000, Pedro Calungsod was beatified together with other 43 individuals who were declared Servants of God, by Blessed Pope John Paul II at Saint Peter's Square in Rome. Pope John Paul II said: "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 law catechist. Leaving family and friends behind, Calungsod willingly joined Fr. Diego de San Vitores on the Mission to the Chamorros." On December 19, 2011, the Holy See officially approved the miracle qualifying Calungsod for sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church. In 2002, a woman from Leyte, who had been pronounced clinically dead by a physician two hours after a heart attack, was allegedly brought back to life after a doctor prayed for Calungsod's intercession.

Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma has appointed Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal as the overall head for the preparations for the archdiocese-wide celebration. Cardinal Vidal will meet with the Cebuano priests in Rome to start the preparations. There will be a group of pilgrims that will include auxiliary bishops and devotees who will witness the canonization rites in Rome.

Calungsod is the second Filipino declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church after Saint Lorenzo Ruiz. The Roman Catholic calendar of martyrology celebrates Calungsod's feast along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores every April 2. Blessed Pedro Calungsod will be canonized on October 21, 2012, and will be known as San Pedro de Cebu.

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