Bells ring, fiesta starts in Pedro’s ‘hometown’

Posted on October 21, 2012

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Pilgrims flock St. Gregory The Great Parish church in Ginatilan, Toledo, Cebu which is the believed birth town of Pedro Calungsod (TONEE DESPOJO)

GINATILAN – Church bells pealed for five minutes in Ginatilan town as confetti fell about 4 p.m. the moment Pope Benedict SVI announced the elevation of Blessed Pedro Caungsod to sainthood.

From a projector screen beside the altar, townfolk watched the live telecast of the canonization in Rome.

People shouted “Viva San Pedro Calungsod!” and applause filled the packed St. Gregory the Great Church.

“While we take pride in considering Calungsod our kadugo, there is also a call to follow his example in life,” said Msgr. Danny Sanico, episcopal vicar, in his homily at at 10 a.m. Mass.

Generations of Calungsods have lived in this quiet southwest Cebu town, leading residents to believe the 17th century martyr has roots here in barangay Cagsing.

In the morning, 20 fishing boats decked in flags, baloons and flowers set sail in a fluvial procession at 7:30 a.m. along the coastline of Ginatilan, Samboan and Malabuyoc towns.

Boat owner Gino Rey Tulansing said fishermen skipped their daily sea catch today to join the celebration.

His home was an open house feast for friends and visitors who were treated to a banquet, just like a fiesta.

“Unsa ra man ng usa ka adlaw sa kadungganan nga gihatag sa usa ka santong batan-on dinhi sa amo sa Ginatilan,” he said.

(What’s one day of fishing that we we would readily give up to honor a young man from our town who’s a saint.)

Residents on shore waved as the boats passed and lit fireworks, especially when the image of San Pedro Calungsod adorned with white and yellow flowers came into view.

The two-hour sea procession was followed by Mass in the baroque-style parish church built in 1829.

Among the crowd was 28-year-old Justin Tan, a finance executive who flew in from Manila the day before.

Tan said he has been a devotee of Perdo Calungsod since his beatification in 2000.

“Who I am today is the result of my prayers to God through the intercession of Calungsod,” he said.

Lilibeth Yunte, a grade 3 teacher in Cabatuan Eleementary School,said her 63-year-old sister-in-law survived cancer two years ago, a healing they credit to Calungsod.

She said that during one of her lowest moments in 2002, she found a prayer book of Calungsod. From them on, she would implore the teenage martyr to intercede for her in-law, Salustaina Cebenio. The woman was cured.

Fr. Gerardo dela Victoria, parish priest, said saints are role models as well.

“Pedro’s humility, docily and courage is worth emulatng. His life itsef is a message,” he said.

Two Americans were wearing t-shirt with the logo of Calungsod.

“I’m not aCatholic” said Timothy Carter of the USA but openly admired what he saw.

“You express your faith with a lot of passion and music… I’m not used to praying to saints but I pray that I’ll be more devoted to God.

Geoff Scott from England, another visitor, said he was there because the canonization of Calungsod was a “historical event that I’m not going to see again in this lifetime.” He said learned about Calungsod in a newspaper article. /Ador Mayol and Fe Marie D. Dumaboc

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