Posthumous portrait of Calungsod by Rafael del Casal, 1999
|Lay Catechist and Martyr|
|Born||July 21, 1654|
Molo, Iloilo or Ginatilan, Cebu, Captaincy General of the Philippines
|Died||April 2, 1672 (aged 17)|
Tumon, Guam, Captaincy General of the Philippines
|Venerated in||Catholic Church|
|Beatified||March 5, 2000, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II|
|Canonized||October 21, 2012, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City by Pope Benedict XVI|
|Major shrine||Cebu Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Pedro Calungsod, Archbishop's Residence Compound, 234 D. Jakosalem St., Cebu City 6000 PH|
|Attributes||Martyr's palm, Spear, Bolo, Doctrina Christiana book, Rosary, Christogram, Crucifix|
|Patronage||Filipino youth, Catechumens, Altar servers, the Philippines, Overseas Filipino Workers, Guam, Cebuanos, Visayans, Archdiocese of Cebu, Pury, San Antonio, Quezon Province|
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of the Catholic Church
Pedro Calungsod (Spanish: Pedro Calúñgsod or archaically Pedro Calonsor; mid-1650s  – April 2, 1672), also known as Peter Calungsod and Pedro Calonsor, was a Catholic Filipino migrant, sacristan and missionary catechist who, along with the Spanish Jesuit missionary Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered religious persecution and martyrdom in Guam for their missionary work in 1672.
While in Guam, Calungsod preached Christianity to the Chamorro people through catechesis, while baptizing infants, children and adults at the risk and expense of being persecuted and eventually murdered. Through Calungsod and San Vitores's missionary efforts, many native Chamorros converted to Roman Catholicism.
Few details of the early life of Calungsod (spelled Calonsor in Spanish records) are known. Historical records do not mention his exact birthplace or birth date, and merely identified him as "Pedro Calonsor, el Visayo". Historical research identifies Ginatilan in Cebu, Hinunangan and Hinundayan in Southern Leyte, and the Molo district of Iloilo City as possible places of origin; Loboc, Bohol also makes a claim. Of these claims, the ones from Molo, Iloilo and Ginatilan, Cebu, are considered the strongest. Nonetheless, all four locations were within the Diocese of Cebu at the time of Calungsod's martyrdom.
Proponents of an Ilonggo origin argue that in the early Spanish period, the term "Visayan" exclusively referred to people from the islands of Negros or Panay, whereas people from Cebu, Bohol and Leyte were called "Pintados". Thus, had he been born in Cebu he would have been referred to as "Calonsor El Pintado" instead of "Calonsor El Visayo"; the term "Visayan" receiving its present scope (i.e., including inhabitants of Cebu, Bohol and Leyte) sometime the 1700s. However, American historian and scholar John N. Schumacher disputes the Bisaya/Pintados dichotomy claim as at that time the Pintados were also referred to as Visayans regardless of location and said Calungsod "was a Visayan" and may have been but doubtfully "from the island of Cebu" or "could have come any other Visayas islands."
The Cebu camp reasoned that Ginatilan contains a high density of people surnamed Calungsod, and that during the beatification process they were the initial claimants to having been Calungsod's birthplace. The Calungsods of Iloilo also claim to be the oldest branch, based on baptismal records containing the surname "Calungsod" dating to circa 1748, compared to branches in Cebu and Leyte which possess baptismal records dating only to 1828 and 1903, respectively.
In Guam, Calungsod received basic education at a Jesuit boarding school, mastering the Catechism and learning to communicate in Spanish. He also likely honed his skills in drawing, painting, singing, acting, and carpentry, as these were necessary in missionary work.
In 1668, Calungsod, then around 14, was amongst the young catechists chosen to accompany Spanish Jesuit missionaries to the Islas de los Ladrones ("Isles of Thieves"), which had been renamed the Mariana Islands the year before to honor both the Virgin Mary and the mission's benefactress, María Ana of Austria, Queen Regent of Spain. Calungsod accompanied the priest Diego San Vitores to Guam to catechize the native Chamorros. Missionary life on the island was difficult as provisions did not arrive regularly, the jungles and terrain were difficult to traverse, and the Marianas were frequently devastated by typhoons. The mission nevertheless persevered, and a significant number of locals were baptized.
A Chinese man named Choco, a criminal from Manila who was exiled in Guam, began spreading rumors that the baptismal water used by missionaries was poisonous. As some sickly Chamorro infants who were baptized eventually died, many believed the story and held the missionaries responsible. Choco was readily supported by the macanjas (medicine men) and the urritaos (young males) who despised the missionaries.
In their search for a runaway companion named Esteban, Calungsod and San Vitores came to the village of Tumon, Guam, on April 2, 1672. There they learnt that the wife of the village's chief Mata'pang had given birth to a daughter, and they immediately went to baptize the child. Influenced by the calumnies of Choco, Chief Mata'pang strongly opposed; to give him some time to calm down, the missionaries gathered the children and some adults of the village at the nearby shore and started chanting with them the tenets of the Catholic faith. They invited Mata'pang to join them, but he shouted back that he was angry with God and was fed up with Christian teachings.
Determined to kill the missionaries, Mata'pang went away and tried to enlist another villager, a pagan named Hirao. The latter initially refused, mindful of the missionaries' kindness towards the natives, but became piqued and eventually capitulated when Mata'pang branded him a coward. While Mata'pang was away from his house, San Vitores and Calungsod baptized the baby girl, with the consent of her Christian mother.
When Mata'pang learnt of his daughter's baptism, he became even more furious. He violently hurled spears first at Calungsod, who was able to dodge them. Witnesses claim that Calungsod could have escaped the attack, but did not desert San Vitores. Those who knew personally Calungsod considered his martial abilities and that he could have defeated the aggressors with weapons; San Vitores had however banned his companions from bearing arms. Calungsod was struck with a spear in the chest and fell to the ground; Hirao immediately charged towards him and finished him off with machete blow to the head. San Vitores quickly absolved Calungsod before he too was killed.
Mata'pang took San Vitores's crucifix and pounded it with a stone whilst blaspheming God. Both assassins then undressed the corpses of both Calungsod and San Vitores, tied large stones to the feet, and after loading these on their proas, dumped the bodies out in Tumon Bay.
A month after the martyrdom of San Vitores and Calungsod, a process for beatification was initiated but only for San Vitores. Political and religious turmoil, however, delayed and halted the process for centuries. In 1981, as Hagåtña was preparing for its 20th anniversary as a diocese, the 1673 beatification cause of San Vitores was rediscovered in old manuscripts and revived until he was finally beatified on October 6, 1985. This also gave recognition to Calungsod, paving the way for his own beatification.
In 1980, then-Archbishop of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal asked permission from the Vatican to initiate Calungsod's beatification and canonization cause. In March 1997, the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the acta of the diocesan beatification process. That same year, Cardinal Vidal appointed Fr Ildebrando Leyson as vice-postulator for the cause, tasked with compiling a Positio Super Martyrio ("position regarding the martyrdom") to be scrutinized by the Congregation. The positio, which relied heavily on the documentation of San Vitores's beatification, was completed in 1999.
Wanting to include young Asian laypersons in his first beatification for the Great Jubilee in 2000, Pope John Paul II paid particular attention to the cause of Calungsod. In January 2000, he approved the decree super martyrio ("concerning the martyrdom") of Calungsod, scheduling his beatification for March 5 of that year at Saint Peter's Square in Rome.
Regarding Calungsod's charitable works and virtuous deeds, John Paul II declared:
...From his childhood, Pedro Calungsod declared himself unwaveringly for Christ and responded generously to his call. Young people today can draw encouragement and strength from the example of Pedro, whose love of Jesus inspired him to devote his teenage years to teaching the faith as a lay catechist. Leaving family and friends behind, Pedro willingly accepted the challenge put to him by Fr. Diego de San Vitores to join him on the Mission to the Chamorros. In a spirit of faith, marked by strong Eucharistic and Marian devotion, Pedro undertook the demanding work asked of him and bravely faced the many obstacles and difficulties he met. In the face of imminent danger, Pedro would not forsake Fr. Diego, but as a "good soldier of Christ" preferred to die at the missionary's side.
On December 19, 2011, the Holy See officially approved the miracle qualifying Calungsod for sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church. The recognized miracle dates from March 26, 2003, when a woman from Leyte, pronounced clinically dead two hours after a heart attack, was revived when an attending physician invoked Calungsod's intercession.
Cardinal Angelo Amato presided over the declaration ceremony on behalf of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He later revealed that Pope Benedict XVI had approved and signed the official promulgation decrees recognising the miracles as authentic and worthy of belief. The College of Cardinals were then sent a dossier on the new saints, and they were asked to indicate their approval. On February 18, 2012, after the Consistory for the Creation of Cardinals, Cardinal Amato formally petitioned the pope to announce the canonization of the new saints. On October 21, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI canonised Calungsod in Saint Peter's Square. The pope wore papal vestments used only on special occasions. Cardinal Ricardo Jamin Vidal, the Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu, concelebrated at the canonization Mass.
At his canonization Mass, Calungsod was the only saint without a first class relic exposed for veneration, as his body had been thrown into the sea and lost. The cutlass used to hack Calungsod's head and neck was retrieved from Guam by Cardinal Vidal, and is now venerated as a second-class relic. During the homily, Benedict XVI said that Calungsod received the Sacrament of Absolution from San Vitores before his death.
After Saint Lorenzo Ruíz of Manila, Calungsod is the second Filipino to be declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Martyrology celebrates Calungsod's feast along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores every April 2, their dies natalis (heavenly birthdate); when April 2 falls within Holy Week or the Octave of Easter, his feast is transferred to the Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent, the day after the Friday of Sorrows and before Palm Sunday.
Various areas in the Visayan islands make the claim that Pedro Calungsod was born and raised there. An extensive research provided by the census research of Ginatilan, Cebu provided a longstanding record of Calonsor and Calungsod natives from their area, from which a strong claim had the most Calungsod natives originating since Filipino-Spanish era since the late 1700s. According to the Parish Pastoral Council William Pancho of Ginatilan, Cebu, there is a strong claim that in the mid-1600s, there were three Calungsod brothers:
In a public televised interview with ABS-CBN chief correspondent and newscaster Korina Sanchez, Cardinal Ricardo Jamin Vidal emphasized his dismay that when the original beatification of Pedro Calungsod began in the 1980s, no province except for Ginatilan, Cebu, wanted to make a claim on his place of birth. Consequently, when the canonization was approved, Catholic bishops from the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, and Iloilo and various Mindanao provinces wanted to claim Calungsod's official birthplace.
As a result, Cardinal Vidal ruled that he will not establish a definitive judgment on his birthplace, since Spanish records only indicate the words "Pedro Calonsor, El Visayo" as his native description. Furthermore, he stated that all Visayan provinces were under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Cebu during the Filipino-Spanish era.
It is not known what Calungsod looked like, as no contemporary depictions survive. The writer Alcina, who was a contemporary of Pedro Calungsod, described the male Visayan indios of his time as usually more corpulent, better built and somewhat taller than the Tagalogs in Luzon; that their skin was light brown in color; that their faces were usually round and of fine proportions; that their noses were flat; that their eyes and hair were black; that they – especially the youth – wore their hair a little bit long; and that they already started to wear camisas (shirts) and calzones (knee-breeches). Pedro Chirino, S.J., who also worked in the Visayas in the 1590s, similarly described the Visayans as well-built, of pleasing countenance and light-skinned.
Calungsod is often depicted as a teenaged young man wearing a camisa de chino that is sometimes bloodied, and usually dark, loose trousers. His most popular attributes are the martyr's palm pressed to his chest and the Doctrina Christiana. To indicate his missionary status, he is depicted in mid-stride, occasionally also bearing a rosary or crucifix. In some early statues Calungsod is shown with a spear and catana (cutlass), the instruments of his death.
The first portrayals stated to be of Pedro Calungsod were drawings made by Eduardo Castrillo in 1994 for the Heritage of Cebu Monument in Parian. A bronze statue representing Calungsod was made and forms part of the monument. Sculptors Francisco dela Victoria and Vicente Gulane of Cebu and Justino Cagayat, Jr., of Paete, Laguna, created statues representing Calungsod in 1997 and 1999 respectively.
When the Archdiocese of Manila in 1998 published the pamphlet Pedro Calungsod: Young Visayan "Proto-Martyr" by theologian Catalino Arevalo, SJ, the 17-year-old Ronald Tubid of Oton, Iloilo, then a student-athlete at the University of the East, was chosen to model for a portrait representing Calungsod. This became the basis for Rafael del Casal's painting in 1999, Is which was chosen as the official portrait for Calungsod. The Del Casal image is the first to feature a Christogram, the seal of the Society of Jesus, with which Calungsod was affiliated. The original painting is now enshrined at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Pedro Calungsod in Cebu City.
Several statues representing Calungsod were also commissioned for the beatification, with one brought to Rome and blessed by John Paul II. This became the "Pilgrim Image", now enshrined at the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Black Nazarene of the Society of the Angel of Peace in Cansojong, Talisay City, Cebu. Another image was enshrined at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Pedro Calungsod in Cebu City. Both images depict Calungsod wearing a white camisa (shirt) and trousers, with the martyr's palm, a rosary, and a crucifix pressed to his breast. During the novena before his feast day, a replica of the catana used to kill him is set into the arm of the statue.
For the canonization celebrations, the chosen sculpture by Justino Cagayat, Jr., represented Calungsod in mid-stride and carrying the Doctrina Christiana and the martyr's palm pressed to his chest. This image was brought to Rome for the canonization festivities. Upon its return to the Philippines, the image toured the country. When not on a pilgrimage tour, the image is enshrined at the Cebu Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Pedro Calungsod in the archbishop's residence.
Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir is a Filipino film with Rocco Nacino in the title role released on December 25, 2013, as an official entry to the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival. It was written and directed by Francis O. Villacorta, and produced by HPI Synergy Group and Wings Entertainment.
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