Pedro in bakya, white shirt is ‘model image’, says Vidal

Posted on July 28, 2012

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Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal shows his chosen image of the Visayan martyr. (TONEE DESPOJO)

A wooden sculpture of a brown-skinned youth with wooden bakya on his feet was chosen as the “model image” of Visayan martyr Pedro Calungsod to be brought to Rome.

And the nose was made to conform to a Philippine profile – no sharp, high bridge but a softer, kinder shape.

The carving by an artisan in Paete, Laguna province was chosen by Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal who viewed a sample brought yesterday by Jesuit priest Fr. Jose Quilongquilong to the prelate’s residence in Banilad, Cebu City.

Four other models by carvers in Cebu and Manila were earlier viewed.

“This will be the official one,” said Vidal to serve as the pattern for other Calungsod images.

A two-foot version will be brought to Rome for the Oct. 21 canonization rites.

“Mahirap ang malaki. (It’s hard to bring along a larger image). It will occupy place,” said Vidal who viewed an almost-four-foot statue yesterday.

A significant feature of the image shows Calungsod stepping with his right foot forward, which symbolizes his mission of moving from one place to another to spread the word of God.

Pedro holds a green palm and a catechism book the “Doctrina Cristiana” in his arms. He is dressed in black pants and a white long sleeved shirt like a camiso de chino.

The donor of the statues wants to remain unnamed, said Vidal.

Vidal said the archdiocese would order from Paete two more replicas to measure three feet and two feet.

Since no record exists of how Pedro Calungsod, who died in 1672, looked like, the features were based on the artist’s imagination, said Vidal.

He said the carver did not use any real life model for the image but followed “the features that I asked for.”

“First the face must be a Filipino face, especially the nose. The color. Then, the Doctrina Cristiana, the palm which is the symbol of matyrdom, and then the feet are on the move because he was a missionary,” said Vidal.

“Those are the features of the image that I have communicated with the sculpture in Paete.”

Vidal said he wanted an image that depicts Calungsod’s work as a lay catechist in a foreign land.

“A few statues have the movement of the feet like this. I wanted him to be barefoot. (But I was told) that sandals were already used during that time because the terrain in Guam was rugged and stony,” he said.

With preparations gearing up for the Oct. 21 canonization, Vidal said people should be reminded of the message behind the event.

“A lay person can be a saint also if you will be faithful and true to what you are doing now. He (Calungsod) is a layman like you. A sacristan. He was faithful to his assignment. Holiness is still possible even among the young; holiness especially for the laity because the lay people composed majority of the church,” Vidal said.

The teenage mission helper came from somewhere in the Visayas and was among the first to serve on a mission organized by Jesuit priest Fr. Diego de San Vitores to the Ladrones Islands in the Western Pacific, Marianas in 1668.

On April 2, 1672, Pedro and Fr. Diego were speared to death by angry villagers in Tumhon, Guam, for catechizing and baptizing natives. /Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Reporter

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