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Pedro Calungsod

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Blessed Pedro Calungsod
layperson and martyr
Born ca. 1655, Ginatilan, Cebu, Philippines Philippines
Died April 2, 1672 (aged 17)[1], Tumon, GuamTemplate:Country data Guam
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 5 March 2000, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican CityTemplate:Country data Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Major shrine Archdiocesan Shrine of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, Archbishop's residence compound,Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
Feast 2 April
Attributes palm
Patronage Filipino youth, altar boys, the Philippines, Overseas Filipino Workers, Guam, Cebuanos.

Blessed Pedro Calungsod (ca. 1655[1] - April 2, 1672) is a Filipino Roman Catholic martyr. He was killed while doing missionary work in Guam in 1672. He was beatified on March 5, 2000, by Pope John Paul II. As a skilled sacristan, he was a companion of Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores to the Marianas Islands. Through their efforts, many receive the sacraments especially that of baptism. A plot to kill Pedro and San Vitores started when a certain Choco, a Chinese who gained influence over the Macanas of Marianas Island, circulated false accusations that the missionaries were spreading poison through the ritual of the pouring of water (i.e. baptism), and through the ritual of Catholic Masses.


Very little is known about Calungsod except that he was a Visayan native and that he was just one of the boy catechists who went with some Spanish Jesuit missionaries from the Philippines to the to evangelize the Chamorros in the Ladrones Islands in the western Pacific in 1668.

Life in the Marianas was hard. The provisions for the Mission did not arrive regularly; the jungles were too thick to cross; the cliffs were very stiff to climb, and the islands were frequently visited by devastating typhoons. Despite all these, the missionaries persevered, and the Mission was blessed with many conversions. Subsequently, the islands were renamed from "Ladrones" to “Marianas” by the missionaries in honour of both the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Queen Regent of Spain, María Ana, their benefactress.

A Chinese quack named Choco, envious of the prestige that the missionaries were gaining among the Chamorros, started to spread the rumours that the baptismal water of the missionaries was poisonous. Since some sickly Chamorro infants who were baptized died, many believed him and eventually apostatized. Choco was readily supported by the Macanjas (sorcerers) and the Urritaos (young male prostitutes) who, along with the apostates, began persecuting the missionaries.

An assault took place on 2 April 1672, the Sunday just before the Passion Sunday of that year. At around seven o’clock in the morning, Pedro then about 17 years old and the superior of the mission, Padre Diego, came to the village of Tumon, in the Island of Guam. There, they were told that a baby girl was recently born in the village, so they went to ask the child’s father, named Mata'pang, to bring out the infant for baptism. Mata'pang was originally a Christian and a friend of the missionaries, but having apostatized, angrily refused to have his baby baptized.

To give Mata'pang some time to cool down, Padre Diego and Pedro gathered the children and some adults of the village at the nearby shore and started chanting with them the truths of the Catholic Faith. They invited Mata'pang to join them, but he was already fed up with the Christian teachings.

Determined to kill the missionaries, Mata'pang went away and tried to enlist in his cause another villager, named Hirao. At first, Hirao refused, mindful of the kindness of the missionaries towards the natives; but when Mata'pang called him a coward, he got piqued and so he consented. Meanwhile, during that brief absence of Mata'pang from his hut, Padre Diego and Pedro took the chance of baptizing the infant, with the consent of the Christian mother.

When Mata'pang learned of the baptism, he became even more furious. He violently hurled spears first at Pedro, who was able to dodge. The witnesses said that Pedro had all the chances to escape because he was very agile, but he did not want to leave Padre Diego alone. Those who knew Pedro personally believed that he would have defeated his fierce aggressors and would have freed both himself and Padre Diego if only he had some weapons because he was a very valiant boy; but Padre Diego never allowed his companions to carry arms. Finally, Pedro got hit by a spear at the chest and he fell to the ground. Hirao immediately charged towards him and finished him off with a blow of a cutlass on the head. Padre Diego gave Pedro the sacramental absolution. After that, the assassins also killed Padre Diego.

Mat'apang took the crucifix of Padre Diego and pounded it with a stone. Then, both assassins denuded the bodies of Pedro and Padre Diego, dragged them to the edge of the shore, tied large stones to the feet of these, brought them on a proa to sea and threw them into the deep.

When the companion missionaries of Pedro learned of his death, they exclaimed, “Fortunate youth! How well rewarded his four years of persevering service to God in the difficult Mission are: he has become the precursor of our superior, Padre Diego, in Heaven!” They remembered Pedro to be a boy with very good dispositions, a virtuous catechist, a faithful assistant, and a good Catholic whose perseverance in the Faith even to the point of martyrdom proved him to be a good soldier of Christ (cf. II Tim 2:3).


Padre Diego Luis de San Vitores was beatified on October 6, 1985 and on March 5, 2000, Pope John Paul II beatified Pedro Calungsod at Saint Peter's Square in Rome.


See also

Template:Current and Possible Filipino Saints Template:Roman Catholicism in the Philippines Template:Philippines in topictl:Pedro Calungsod

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