FOR devotees Doris Nelsa Banaynal and Carlo Bacaltos, last Saturday’s announcement of the canonization of the Blessed Pedro Calungsod was a dream come true.
Banaynal, a choir coordinator in the Blessed Pedro Calungsod Shrine in the Archbishop’s Residence for nine years, said she could only hope to attend the canonization rites in Oct. 21 in the Vatican.
Pope Benedict XVI announced last Saturday the date for the canonization of Pedro Calungsod, a young Visayan martyr, and six other candidates for sainthood from Europe and the US.
“It’s a different feeling when it’s a Filipino saint. He is one of us, he is from Cebu. The whole world will know about him and the good deeds he has done,” she told Cebu Daily News.
Banaynal said Calungsod’s canonization is significant for both Catholics in the country and the Cebuano faithful since he would be venerated worldwide and across various cultures. “The official story of Calungsod is in Cebu,” she said.
For his part, 24-year-old altar server Carlo Bacaltos said he had been looking up to Calungsod for guidance since he was young.
“He is a good model because of the devotion he has shown at a young age,” Bacaltos said.
For the longest time
Bacaltos, who works as secretary in the office of the Calungsod shrine for six years now, said he feels a connection with the young Visayan catechist, who was martyred in the 17th century.
He said he felt overwhelmed and happy after the date for his canonization was set.
“For the longest time, we have been waiting for this to happen. This is really it,” Bacaltos said.
Calungsod served as a catechist and assistant on a mission organized by Fr. Diego de San Vitores to the Ladrones Islands, now known as Guam.
He was speared with a cutlass by hostile natives in April 2, 1672 when he and Fr. Diego were baptizing villagers.
Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal met with the Cebuano clergy in Rome, Italy, shortly after the announcement.
Vidal is the overall chairman of the activities related to the canonization of Calungsod.
The 80-year-old prelate thanked all those who helped in their own way to promoting Calungsod’s cause.
“As the promoter of the cause (for Calungsod’s sainthood) that began in 1986, I am very grateful to the Lord for the great blessing he has bestowed on our people,” said Vidal in his message as relayed by Rev. Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili through Facebook.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, in an interview, said another meeting is expected to transpire when Vidal will arrive home.
The Cebu Archdiocese will intensify its awareness campaign on Calungsod in the months to come.
Msgr. Esteban Binghay, episcopal vicar of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said catechetical modules are being prepared to teach the public about Calungsod’s background.
A book regarding the life of the young Visayan martyr is sold at the Blessed Pedro Calungsod Shrine on D. Jakosalem Street in Cebu City, at the National Bookstore outlets and at the Patria de Cebu.
“Before the canonization, parishes and chapels will educate the people about the life, mission and the new evangelization of Pedro Calungsod,” Binghay said.
For the community
He said the archdiocese shall also organize radio dramas and song contests, among others, to promote the life of Calungsod.
“Pedro Calungsod isn’t just for the Church but also for the community,” Binghay said.
“His canonization should encourage us to live a just life. May he inspire us to do something for the growth, not just of the Church, but also for our nation,” he said.
The Cebu Archdiocese is raising at least P50 million for the canonization of Calungsod.
About P30 million will be spent for the canonization rites in Rome, while P20 million will be used for the Thanksgiving Rites in Cebu.
The Thanksgiving Rites will be held after Calungsod’s canonization in Rome on Oct. 21, 2012.
The archdiocese is considering a wide, vacant lot in Cebu where the Thanksgiving Rites will be made.
Binghay said the archdiocese is hoping to raise the amount that will be used for the expenses of Calungsod’s canonization.
Once canonized, Calungsod will join St. Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila in the pantheon of saints.
Ruiz and 15 companions were beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II on Feb. 18, 1981. He was canonized six years after. / Ador Vincent Mayol and Candeze R. Mongaya, Reporters