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Pedro Calungsod also known as Pedro Calonsor (born: 1654 – died: 2 April 1672) was a young Roman Catholic Filipino migrant, sacristan and missionary catechist, who along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered religious persecution and martyrdom in Guam for their missionary work in 1672.

While in Guam, Calungsod preached C

hristianity to the Chamorro people through catechism, while baptizing both infants, children and adults at the risk and expense of being persecuted and eventually murdered. Through Calungsod and San Vitores’ missionary efforts, many native Chamorros converted to Roman Catholicism.

Calungsod was formally beatified on 5 March 2000 by Blessed Pope John Paul II. On 18 February 2012, Pope Benedict XVI officially announced that Calungsod will be canonised on 21 October 2012.

Saint Pedro Calungsod also known as Pedro Calonsor (born: 1654 – died: 2 April 1672) was a young Roman Catholic Filipino saint, migrant, sacristan and missionary catechist, who along with Blessed 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 catechism, while baptizing both infants, children and adults at the risk and expense of being persecuted and eventually murdered. Through Calungsod and San Vitores‘ missionary efforts, many native Chamorros converted to Roman Catholicism.

Calungsod was formally beatified on 5 March 2000 by Blessed Pope John Paul II. Calungsod was officially canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on 21 October 2012.

Early years and Missionary work

Mariana of Austria, Queen of Spain, the benefactress of the mission to the Ladrones Islands.

Calungsod (spelled Calonsor in Spanish records) was born ca. 1654. Historical records never mentioned his exact place of origin and merely identified him as “Pedro Calonsor, El Visayo“. Historical research identifies Ginatilan in Cebu, Hinunangan and Hinundayan in Southern Leyte, and Molo district in Iloilo as probable places of origin. Loboc in Bohol also makes a claim.  These locations were parts of the “Diocese of Cebu” during the time of Calungsod’s martyrdom.

Few details of his early life prior to missionary work and death are known. It is probable that he received basic education at a Jesuit boarding school, mastering the Catechism and learning to communicate in Spanish. He likely honed his skills in drawing, painting, singing, acting, and carpentry as these were necessary in missionary work. Calungsod would have been expected to have some aptitude in serving in the Tridentine Mass (now known as the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite).

Calungsod, then around 14, was among the exemplary young catechists chosen to accompany the Jesuits in their mission to the Ladrones Islands (Islas de los Ladrones or “Isles of Thieves”). In 1668, Calungsod travelled with Spanish Jesuit missionaries to these islands, renamed the Mariana Islands (Las Islas de Mariana) the year before in honour of both the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Queen Regent of Spain, María Ana of Austria, who funded their voyage. Calungsod and San Vitores went to Guam to catechise the native Chamorros.

Missionary life was difficult as provisions did not arrive regularly, the jungles and terrain was difficult to traverse, and the islands were frequently devastated by typhoons. Despite all these, the mission persevered, and was able to convert a significant number of locals.

Martyrdom

A Chinese named Choco, a criminal from Manila who was exiled in Guam began spreading rumours 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 2 April 1672. There they learnt that the wife of the village chief Matapang gave birth to a daughter, and they immediately went to baptise the child. Influenced by the calumnies of Choco, the chief strongly opposed; to give Mata’pang 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 religion. 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, named Hirao, who was not a Christian. Hirao initially refused, mindful of the missionaries’ kindness towards the natives, but when Mata’pang branded him a coward, he became piqued and capitulated. Meanwhile, during that brief absence of Mata’pang from his hut, San Vitores and Calungsod baptised 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 Pedro, who was able to dodge the spears. Witnesses claim that Calungsod could have escaped the attack, but did not want to leave San Vitores alone. Those who knew Calungsod personally meanwhile believed that he could have defeated the aggressors with weapons; San Vitores however banned his companions to carry arms. Calungsod was hit in the chest by a spear and he fell to the ground, then Hirao immediately charged towards him and finished him off with machete blow to the head. San Vitores absolved Calungsod before he too was killed.

Mata’pang took San Vitores’ crucifix and pounded it with a stone whilst blaspheming God. Both assassins then denuded the corpses of Calungsod and San Vitroes, tied large stones to their feet, brought them out to sea on their proas and threw them into the water.The Catholic Church considers Calungsod’s martyrdom as committed In Odium Fidei (‘In Hatred of the Faith’), referring to the religious persecution endured by the person in evangelisation.

Beatification

Banner by Filipino artist Rafael del Casal depicting Calungsod during beatification rites in Vatican City, 2000.

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. When Hagåtña was preparing for its 20th anniversary as a diocese in 1981, the 1673 beatification cause of Padre Diego Luís de San Vitores was rediscovered in old manuscripts and revived until San Vitores was finally beatified on 6 October 1985. This gave recognition to Calungsod, paving the way for his own beatification.[13]

In 1980, then-Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal asked permission from the Vatican to initiate the beatification and canonisation cause of Pedro Calungsod. 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 scrutinised by the Congregation. The positio, which relied heavily on the documentation of San Vitores’ beatification, was completed in 1999.[14]

Wanting to include young Asian laypersons in his first beatification for the Jubilee Year 2000, 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, setting his beatification for 5 March 2000 at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome.

Regarding Calungsod’s charitable works and virtuous deeds, Pope 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.

 

Shortly before his scheduled canonisation, a Triduum of masses in honour of Calungsod were celebrated in the Basilica of Saint Augustine, the Church of the Gesù and the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major from 18-20 October. A wooden image of Calungsod approved by and flown in from the Archdiocese of Cebu was displayed for public veneration. Archbishop Emeritus of Manila, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales presided over the 20 October mass,[16] while Philippine Vice-President Jejomar Binay led the Philippine delegation along with Ambassador to the Holy See, Mercedes Arrastia Tuason.

Sainthood

A statue of Calungsod featured in an earlier model.

On 19 December 2011, the Holy See officially approved the miracle qualifying Calungsod for sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church.[17] The recognised miracle dates from 26 March 2003, when a woman from Leyte who was pronounced clinically dead by accredited physicians 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 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 18 February 2012, after the Consistory for the Creation of Cardinals, Cardinal Amato formally petitioned Pope Benedict XVI to announce the canonization of the new saints.[21] The Pope set the date for the canonisation on 21 October 2012 (World Mission Sunday), 340 years after Calungsod’s death.[22]

On 21 October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI canonized Calungsod in Saint Peter’s Square. [1] Filipino Cardinal Ricardo Jamin Vidal concelebrated with Pope Benedict XVI at the official canonisation Mass for Calungsod while among the seven new saints canonised, Calungsod was the only one without a first class relic exposed for veneration since his body was thrown into the sea. The cutlass knife, a second-class relic used to hack Calungsod’s head and neck however was retrieved by Cardinal Ricardo Vidal from Guam. During the papal homily, Pope Benedict XVI maintained that Calungsod received the Sacrament of Absolution from Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores before his martyrdom and death.

After Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, 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 2 April.[23]

Birthplace issue

Various areas in the Visayan islands make the claim from which Pedro Calungsod was born and raised. 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 1700’s. According to the Parish Pastoral Council William Pancho of Ginatilan, Cebu, there is a strong claim that in the mid 1600’s, there were three Calungsod brothers:

  • Valerio Calungsor who migrated to Iloilo
  • Casimiro Calungsor who migrated to Bohol
  • Pablo Calungsor who remained in Ginatilan, Cebu and was the father of Pedro Calungsod.

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 1980’s, 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.

Iconography

Calungsod is often portrayed clutching a Catechism book, notably the “Doctrina Christiana”. Only known surviving copy by Fray Juan de Plasencia. Library of Congress, Washington D.C. Circa 1590’s.

It is not known exactly 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 sometimes shown with a spear and catana (cutlass), the instruments of his death.

In art

The first portraits of Pedro Calungsod were drawings done by award-winning artist, sculptor, and designer Eduardo Castrillo[25] in 1994 for the Heritage of Cebu Monument in Parian. A bronze statue of Calungsod was made and now forms part of the monument. Sculptors Francisco dela Victoria and Vicente Gulane of Cebu and Justino Cagayat Jr. of Paete, Laguna, created statues of Calungsod in 1997 and 1999 respectively.

When the Archdiocese of Manila in 1998 published the pamphlet Pedro Calungsod: Young Visayan “Proto-Martyr” by Jesuit theologian Catalino Arevalo, the 17-year old Ronald Tubid of Oton, Iloilo, was chosen to model for a portrait of Calungsod.[27] This then became the basis for Rafael del Casal’s painting in 1999, which was chosen as the official portrait for Calungsod. The Del Casal portrait is the first to feature a Christogram, the seal of the Society of Jesus with which he was affiliated. The original painting is now enshrined at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Blessed Pedro Calungsod in Cebu City.

Several statues of 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 Nuestro Padré Jesús de Nazareno of the Society of the Angel of Peace in Cansojong, Talisay City, Cebu. Another image is permanently enshrined at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Blessed Pedro Calungsod in Cebu City. Both images also depict Calungsod wearing a white camisa and trousers, with his characteristic 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.

Images

  • Bronze statue in Plaza Colon, Cebu City

  • Closeup of portrait at Archdiocesan shrine, Cebú

  • Processional Statue, Manila

  • Stained glass window, California, USA

  • Altar of St. James the Apostle Parish Church, Paombong, Bulacan

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(Thursday, June 7, 2012; transferred to Sunday, June 10, 2012)

The Feast of Corpus Christi, or the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (as it is often called today), goes back to the 13th century, but it celebrates something far older: the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the Last Supper. While Holy Thursday is also a celebration of this mystery, the solemn nature of Holy Week, and the focus on Christ’s Passion on Good Friday, overshadows that aspect of Holy Thursday.

History:

In 1246, Bishop Robert de Thorete of the Belgina diocese of Liège, at the suggestion of St. Juliana of Mont Cornillon (also in Belgium), convened a synod and instituted the celebration of the feast. From Liège, the celebration began to spread, and, on September 8, 1264, Pope Urban IV issued the papal bull “Transiturus,” which established the Feast of Corpus Christi as a universal feast of the Church, to be celebrated on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday.

At the request of Pope Urban IV, St. Thomas Aquinas composed the office (the official prayers of the Church) for the feast. This office is widely considered one of the most beautiful in the traditional Roman Breviary (the official prayer book of the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours), and it is the source of the famous Eucharistic hymns “Pange Lingua Gloriosi” and “Tantum Ergo Sacramentum.”

For centuries after the celebration was extended to the universal Church, the feast was also celebrated with a eucharistic procession, in which the Sacred Host was carried throughout the town, accompanied by hymns and litanies. The faithful would venerate the Body of Christ as the procession passed by. In recent years, this practice has almost disappeared, though some parishes still hold a brief procession around the outside of the parish church.

While the Feast of Corpus Christi is one of the ten Holy Days of Obligation in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, in some countries, including the United States, the feast has been transferred to the following Sunday

______________________________________________________________

Daily Readings for Sunday June 10, 2012

Reading 1, Genesis 3:9-15

9 But Yahweh God called to the man. ‘Where are you?’ he asked.

10 ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden,’ he replied. ‘I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’

11 ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ he asked. ‘Have you been eating from the tree I forbade you to eat?’

12 The man replied, ‘It was the woman you put with me; she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’

13 Then Yahweh God said to the woman, ‘Why did you do that?’ The woman replied, ‘The snake tempted me and I ate.’

14 Then Yahweh God said to the snake, ‘Because you have done this, Accursed be you of all animals wild and tame! On your belly you will go and on dust you will feed as long as you live.

15 I shall put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; it will bruise your head and you will strike its heel.’

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

1 [Song of Ascents] From the depths I call to you, Yahweh:

2 Lord, hear my cry. Listen attentively to the sound of my pleading!

3 If you kept a record of our sins, Lord, who could stand their ground?

4 But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered.

5 I rely, my whole being relies, Yahweh, on your promise.

6 My whole being hopes in the Lord, more than watchmen for daybreak; more than watchmen for daybreak

7 let Israel hope in Yahweh. For with Yahweh is faithful love, with him generous ransom;

8 and he will ransom Israel from all its sins.

Gospel, Mark 3:20-35

20 He went home again, and once more such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal.

21 When his relations heard of this, they set out to take charge of him; they said, ‘He is out of his mind.’

22 The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘Beelzebul is in him,’ and, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he drives devils out.’

23 So he called them to him and spoke to them in parables,

24 ‘How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last.

25 And if a household is divided against itself, that household can never last.

26 Now if Satan has rebelled against himself and is divided, he cannot last either — it is the end of him.

27 But no one can make his way into a strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he has first tied up the strong man. Only then can he plunder his house.

28 ‘In truth I tell you, all human sins will be forgiven, and all the blasphemies ever uttered;

29 but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin.’

30 This was because they were saying, ‘There is an unclean spirit in him.’

31 Now his mother and his brothers arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him.

32 A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, ‘Look, your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.’

33 He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’

34 And looking at those sitting in a circle round him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers.

35 Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’

Reading 2, Second Corinthians 4:13–5:1

13 But as we have the same spirit of faith as is described in scripture — I believed and therefore I spoke -we, too, believe and therefore we, too, speak,

14 realising that he who raised up the Lord Jesus will raise us up with Jesus in our turn, and bring us to himself — and you as well.

15 You see, everything is for your benefit, so that as grace spreads, so, to the glory of God, thanksgiving may also overflow among more and more people.

16 That is why we do not waver; indeed, though this outer human nature of ours may be falling into decay, at the same time our inner human nature is renewed day by day.

17 The temporary, light burden of our hardships is earning us for ever an utterly incomparable, eternal weight of glory,

18 since what we aim for is not visible but invisible. Visible things are transitory, but invisible things eternal.

1 For we are well aware that when the tent that houses us on earth is folded up, there is a house for us from God, not made by human hands but everlasting, in the heavens.

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