Red flags, fair weather favor countdown for Calungsod

Posted on July 15, 2012

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Fireworks lit the sky as hundreds of people waved red flaglets and cheered during the launching of the 100-day countdown for the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod in Fuente Osmeña rotunda, Cebu City at 5 p.m yesterday.

Cebu’s clergy, local officials, university students, catechists and religious organizations gathered at the Fuente Osmena rotunda.

In Marikina, another countdown was led by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said Calungsod’s canonization rites in St. Peter’s Square in Rome will take place at 4 pm.

He was thankful that the weather cleared in the afternoon after a downpour hours earlier.

“God is so good to us. This noon, there was a very heavy rain. I think God is showing us that He is blessing our efforts and our preparation,” said Palma, also the incumbent president of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines.

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Before the countdown, a group of young people from Parian, Cebu City, gave people gathered in Fuente Osmena rotunda a glimpse of Calungsod’s life and death.

Present during the event were Palma, Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, four other bishops, members of the clergy, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

The ceremony in Fuente Osmena was preceeded by a Mass at the centuries-old Basilica del Sto. Nino in downtown Cebu City.

In his homily, Cardinal Vidal reminded the congregation to be spiritually ready for Calungsod’s canonization

“We must not only busy ourselves with the preparations, but the preparations must purify us as well, draw as closer to each other. The one hundred days therefore must be a time of grace for all of us,” the cardinal said.

Vidal challenged the people to follow Calungsod’s fidelity to the Lord amid persecutions and death.

“The account of Pedro’s mission and martyrdom can be written in a paragraph or two. But its significance can fill up many volumes. What Pedro did was an act of solidarity in faith,” he said.

Vidal said Calungsod, a mission helper in the Marianas isalnds in the 17th century, could have run away from his tormentors but the teenager faced death to glorify the Lord.

“No matter how idealistic young people may be, if they cannot endure inconvenience and discomfort, they will not be able to practice solidarity,” said Vidal.

As the church counts the days leading up to Calungsod’s canonization, Vidal said one should learn to “let go of attachments, endure inconveniences, practice solidarity with our neighbors, and finally gorw in holiness.”

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After the Mass, an image of Calungsod, placed in glass case adorned with flowers was brought from the basilica in a motorcade to Fuente Osmeña.

Calungsod, a Visayan teenager, was among the first to serve on a mission organized by Fr. Diego de San Vitores to the Ladrones Islands in the Western Pacific, Marianas, on June 16, 1668.

Trained by the Jesuits, Calungsod mastered catechism and learned how to read, write and deliver discourses in Visayan, Spanish and Chamorro.

On April 2, 1672, he and Fr. Diego were killed with a cutlass by two villagers in Tumhon, Guam, for baptizing the natives. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter

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