A 71-year-old catechist and a long-time devotee of Blessed Pedro Calungsod thank the Filipino blessed in her prayers every day for miraculously saving her from a life-threatening disease.
Isabel Amestosa said the doctors diagnosed her with multiple cysts in her urinary bladder a few years back. However, after constantly praying for divine intercession to Calungsod, the cysts mysteriously disappeared.
An active member of Our Lady of the Rule Parish in Lapu-lapu City, Amestosa dedicated 12 years of her life to the Filipino martyr starting in 2000. She regularly leads novenas and prayer groups for Calungsod.
“Iya man kong gitabangan mao nang mubawi pud ko. Ganahan ko ni Calungsod kay nagpabilin siya na lig-on bisan daghan og kalisud sa iyang kinabuhi (He helped me that is why I am giving back. I like Calungsod because he remained strong despite the numerous hardships in his life),” she said.
“He (Calungsod) is a good example to the youth especially to young catechists,” Amestosa added.
Aside from supporting activities organized by the Church for the Filipino blessed, Amestosa trains the acolytes in their parish as well.
During the anticipated celebration of Calungsod’s feast’s annual procession last Saturday, Amestosa was one of the pilgrims who recited the Holy Rosary together with a flock of devotees, acolytes, college students, seminarians and catechists, silently marching along its route down Mango Avenue.
The procession started 5:30 p.m. and slowly made its way from the Cebu Archiodesan Shrine of Pedro Calungsod and back through F. Ramos Street, Mango Avenue and D. Jakosalem Street.
Hundreds of acolytes from all over Cebu’s parishes such as the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Basilica del Sto. Niño and San Roque Shrine in barangay Mambaling led the march and attended the festivities in the Calungsod Shrine. The Shrine also gave awards to the biggest participating congregation and a quiz bowl competition won by an acolyte from the Diocesan Shrine of St. Arnold Janssen.
About 150 fresh graduates from Talisay City College’s (TCC) Education Department were also present in the procession.
“Nag-ampo mi ni Blessed Pedro para tabangan mi makapasar sa Teacher’s board exams (We’re praying to Blessed Pedro so that he would help us pass the Teacher’s board exams),” said 20-year-old TCC graduate Jennyvee Tormes.
“Whether I pass or not, I will continue being a devotee of Calungsod,” she added.
A carroza draped with yellow and white orchids along the sides with its top part adorned with red roses carried the image of Blessed Pedro Calungsod and pushed by members of TCC’s ROTC officials.
A group of priests led by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma followed at the back of the carroza.
The University of San Carlos Bugle Corps accompanied the procession while playing a variety of slow music.
Meanwhile, policemen were posted along the procession’s route to ensure its order.
A brief fireworks display greeted Calungsod’s carroza upon its return to the Shrine. A Pontifical Mass celebrated by Msgr. Ricardo Cardinal Vidal shortly followed after.
The feast of Blessed Pedro Calungsod is celebrated every second day of April, the anniversary of his martyrdom.
Because the date falls within Holy Week or Easter Week, the feast is observed on the Saturday that immediately precedes Palm Sunday.
Calungsod was a boy catechist from the Visayas region of the country who was killed in a mission to evangelize a tribal group called the Chamoros in the Ladrones Islands in the Western Pacific to evangelize a tribal group called the Chamoros.
Calungsod was beatified on March 5, 2001. After 11 years, he will be the second Filipino saint after St. Lorenzo Ruiz when he receives canonization by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 21 this year./ UP Intern Peter L. Romanillos