We, Filipinos, rejoice that the second Filipino saint in the name of Pedro Calungsod was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome.

The University is lucky that last Oct. 25, it was assigned the honor of being the first station of the Duaw Nasud, or national pilgrimage of thanksgiving; this means that the new saint’s original image used in the canonization rites was brought to UST, the only pontifical university in Asia and the Catholic University of the Philippines, before it was brought to different dioceses and other Catholic institutions around the country.

Calungsod was a missionary catechist in Guam in the 17th century when he was martyred at the very young age of 17.

Because of the bold sacrifice he made despite his tender age, San Pedro has become a role model for the Filipino youth. His martyrdom shows how Filipinos value the legacy of faith they have received from the Catholic Church.

In a celebration of the Holy Eucharist that I attended on the day of Calungsod’s canonization (Oct. 21, 2012), the priest said in his homily that that the proclamation of a new Filipino saint should compel Filipinos to renew their faith. He added that the Filipino youth should make San Pedro their role model, inspiring them to evangelize the world through catechesis and works of mercy.

For us Thomasians, the canonization of Calungsod should be doubly significant since he has become the second Filipino to be proclaimed saint after San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila, whose 25th anniversary of canonization was marked coincidentally on Oct. 18.

Sanggol sa sabsaban

It must be remembered that UST played a hand in Ruiz’s martyrdom and subsequent beatification. San Lorenzo, after all, was a scribe in the service of the Dominicans of Binondo, whose church now, founded by the black friars in the 17th century, has been named a minor basilica in his honor.

Moreover, San Lorenzo was a member of a Marian confraternity of the Dominicans spreading the devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary.

Perhaps most important for us, San Lorenzo was martyred during the Christian persecutions in Japan in the 17th century along with Dominican alumni of UST. Their beatification cause was advanced and promoted in the 20th century by our beloved UST archivist and historian, Fr. Fidel Villarroel, O.P.

In 1981, the late great pope and now Blessed John Paul II beatified San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila and Companion Martyrs at the Luneta Park in the first beatification outside of Rome in history. In 1987, the same pope canonized him in solemn ceremonies in the Vatican.

Both Calungsod and Ruiz were martyred abroad, so they have also become patron saints of Filipino migrant workers. Despite their imperfections and lapses, Filipinos by and large continue to practice their Catholic faith overseas, with heroism but balanced by their peculiar ebullience and optimism as a Christian people, filling especially the churches in post-Christian Europe and the Arab world. In their own little way, they show their loyalty to the example of Ruiz and Calungsod, and their fidelity to the legacy of faith and charity bequeathed them by the great original Catholic missionaries in the Philippines, such as the Augustinians, Franciscans, Dominicans, and Recollects.

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