The country has a new saint—Pedro Calungsod, the young catechist and martyr from the Visayas, who was canonized on Sunday.
Saint Pedro Calungsod also known as Pedro Calonsor (born: 1654– died: 2 April 1672) is a Roman Catholic young Filipino saint and was a migrant, sacristan and missionary catechist, who along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered religious persecution and martyrdom in Guam for their missionary work in 1672.
While in Guam, Calungsod preached Christianity to the Chamorro people through catechism, while baptizing infants, children and adults at the risk and expense of being persecuted and eventually murdered. Through Calungsod and San Vitores’ missionary efforts, many native Chamorros converted to Roman Catholicism.
Calungsod was formally beatified on 5 March 2000 by Blessed Pope John Paul II. Calungsod was officially canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on 21 October 2012.
Saint Lorenzo, a married lay person who was martyred in Japan in 1637, was canonized by Blessed John Paul II in Rome on October 18, 1987. Saint Lorenzo’s feast day falls on September 28.
Saint Pedro, a 17-year-old catechist who was martyred in Guam in 1672, was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI also in Rome on October 21. Saint Pedro’s feast day is April 2.
The feast day of saints is generally on the day they died, except for a few like the Blessed Virgin Mary (September 8) and Saint John the Evangelist (June 24), whose feast days are celebrated on the day they were born.
Saint Pedro was canonized with six other new saints:
(1) Jacques Berthieu, a French martyr and priest of the Society of Jesus;
(2) Giovanni Battista Piamarta, an Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth;
(3) Maria del Carmen, Spanish Foundress of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching;
(4) Marianne Cope, a German religious of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Syracuse, US;
(5) Kateri Tekakwitha, an American laywoman and the first Native American saint; and
(6) Anna Schaffer, a German laywoman.
According to a news article on the site www.sanpedrocalungsod.com, Saint Pedro’s image occupied the second highest place of honor at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome during Sunday’s canonization.
Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson, Vice-Postulator for the Canonization Cause of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, said the ranking of the saints is decided by three factors:
(1) martyrs rank higher than non-martyrs;
(2) bishops rank higher than priests, and
(3) priests rank higher than religious, and laypeople.
During the canonization on Sunday, Saint Pedro ranked next only to Saint Jacques Berthieu, a Jesuit priest who was martyred like him.
Part of the canonization rites in Rome included the offering at the altar of the relics of the newly canonized saints.
The Catholic Encyclopedia defines a relic as “some object, notably part of the body or clothes, remaining as a memorial of a departed saint.”
Only six relics were offered during Sunday’s canonization because there was no “first class” relic of Saint Pedro, whose body was thrown into the sea after he was killed.