CEBU CITY – Most mass participants clapped, some joyfully shouted, “Viva San Pedro de Cebu,” and others burst into song. All of these were for a katagilungsod (compatriot) who will soon be raised to sainthood.
News of the canonization this year of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, the young catechist from the Visayas, spread quickly from church to church from Cebu to Leyte Sunday.
Pope Benedict XVI announced Saturday evening (morning in Italy) that Calungsod, a Filipino lay catechist, is one of seven blessed or beatified persons to be canonized or recognized as saints on October 21, 2012 in Vatican City.
Calungsod was martyred in Guam in 1672 with a Spanish Jesuit priest, now Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, and was beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 2000.
Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, who is in Rome to attend the consistory, delivered a message that was posted by his former secretary Fr. Mhar Balili on his Facebook account.
“As the promoter of their cause which began in 1986, I am very grateful to the Lord for the great blessing he has bestowed on our people,” said 81-year-old Vidal.
“I would like to thank all those who have contributed to the promotion of Blessed Pedro’s cause. I hope that their blessing will help to unite our people and bring in peace and harmony,” he added.
The announcements to the faithful began as early as 5 a.m. during the mass led by Fr. Dodong Desuyo at the Our Lady of Remedies parish church in Barangay Odlot, Bogo City to Villaba town in Leyte Province.
“Ang mga parokyano sa Odlot misinggit og ‘Viva San Pedro de Cebu’ ug mipakpak pinakakusog (The parishioners of Odlot shouted, ‘Viva San Pedro de Cebu’ and clapped loudly),” Desuyo told Sun.Star Cebu.
“We will start on our preparation for our participation in the national thanksgiving in November,” he added.
Fr. Erwin Miro, from the Holy Child Parish in Villaba town in Leyte, made the same announcement during the 6:30 a.m. mass.
“They were very happy and proud especially that he comes from the Visayan region,” said Miro.
“I’m proud and happy for the great grace God has bestowed on us Filipino Catholics. To God be the glory!” he added.
Sun.Star Cebu also received similar reports of elation from the people in some parishes where announcements were made during masses.
These included Our Lady of the Sacred Heart parish in Barangay Capitol Site, San Isidro de Labrador Parish in Barangay Talamban in Cebu City, San Sebastian Parish in Borbon, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and St. Joseph the Patriarch Parish in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.
In a separate interview, Archdiocesan Commission on Worship chairman Msgr. Cristobal Garcia said he was saying mass at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Jesus Nazareno in Cansojong, Talisay City.
“I had the consistory monitored by the brothers because I was saying mass. At the end of the mass I read their note, which was in Latin and then translated it but it was useless because they (the mass-goers) recognized the name of Pedro and his last name and they began clapping and singing ‘Way sukod (Love without Recompense),’” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
“After (that) they almost did not care for the final blessing, they rushed to his statue. I pray our love for God and for each other will be like Pedro’s ‘Way sukod,’” he added.
A large crowd during the 10 a.m. mass at the Basilica del Sto. Niño’s Pilgrim Center clapped when Fr. Tito Soquiño, OSA, said the long wait is over and that Blessed Pedro Calungsod will be canonized in eight months.
The Augustinian priest underscored in a message delivered before the final blessing that the country’s second saint is a layman, whom the people could emulate.
The news of the coming canonization is indeed a cause for celebration for everyone, said Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes.
“I did announce the October 21 canonization to the people at the beginning. It was met with applause as it is a great grace not only to Cebu but to the whole country as well,” he added.
Cortes delivered the good news to the fiesta mass participants at the Sto. Niño Parish in Barangay Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City Sunday morning.
In a separate interview, Diocesan Vocation Director Fr. Socrates Saldua told reporters the coming canonization of “a kababayan (fellow countryman), a katagilungsod” should also be a cause for “spiritual celebration.”
“We have to reflect on his life, as a catechist and an OFW (overseas Filipino worker),” he told reporters Sunday.
“So, this is also a challenge to bring the word of God to all our countrymen. We should follow his simplicity of life, ordinariness of service, not so rich in material goods. He (Pedro) was just an aide,” he added.
Dumaguete Bishop John Du dropped by the Archdiocesan Shrine of Blessed Pedro Calungsod located within the Archbishop’s residence compound yesterday morning to recite a short prayer.
He recalled being in charge of the Duaw Lungsod, the activity promoting the devotion to Beato Pedro by visiting parishes in Cebu and nearby provinces.
In 2002, he was unable to join the group to Camotes Island but he was there at the send-off at the Danao city port.
Du visited the beach house donated to the archdiocese in Compostela town, climbed to the second floor and fell through the floor.
“I was unconscious and the people there revived me by giving me hot water. I woke up and did not have any cuts or bruises after the 12-foot fall,” he said.
“I attribute that to Beato Pedro,” he added.
Bishop Du said the devotion to the teenaged martyr is also popular in the Dumaguete diocese, which is one of four suffragan dioceses of Cebu.
Another visitor to the shrine, who asked not to be named, said she had to drop by before she went home from attending a mass of a trans-parochial community. She learned the news in the papers.
She told Sun.Star Cebu that she asked Beato Pedro to intercede for her so she can return to Rome and witness his canonization in October this year. (Sun.Star Cebu)