I would want to dedicate this entry to the new canonized saints of the Catholic Church: Jacques Berthieu (a Jesuit priest and martyr), Giovanni Battista Piamarta (founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth). Maria Carmen Sallés (founder of the Conceptionists Missionary Sisters of Education), Marianne Cope (a religious from the Diocese of Syracuse in New York), Kateri Tekakwitha (the first Native American Saint), Anna Shaffer (a lay woman from Germany), and most especially to my countryman, Pedro Calungsod (a teenage lay catechist and martyr).
Today, many of my confreres congratulated me because of our new Filipino Saint. By the way, although I studied in the Philippines for my theological formation, we are only 15 Filipinos out of 50 students of theology. You may ask why the greetings were to me and not to the other 14 Filipinos? It is because St. Pedro Calungsod and I come from the same island, which is Cebu. In our present community, I am the lone Filipino who come from that place. That Pedro Calungsod was from Cebu is still debatable fact. But as my professor in history would say, “History is always written by the victors.” No matter how the historians would want to be objective with history, it is always mixed with a certain prejudice with the person who wrote it. In Pedro Calungsod’s case, it is the Cebuanos, since they are the ones who filed the cause for his canonization.
I hope and pray that his canonization will not be in vain but will bring about change in the Philippines, and more particularly for the Cebuanos. May the heroic virtues of St. Pedro Calungsod be an inspiration to all of them especially for the young people who are serving the Church.
It is discouraging at times to work and to be in the service of the Church. People criticize your honest and sincere generosity of time and effort. Sometimes one encounters people who do not know how to say a simple thank you. Often times than not, one cannot see the fruits of one’s labor of love. Let not these obstacles stop us from serving God in the Church. We might not receive rewards here on earth, nor even a simple thank you. But in paradise, awaits your reward and God’s sincere gratitude. Let us always remember, God is not generous but He is Generosity Himself; He is not love, but He is Love Himself. And so, he cannot be outdone with your generosity, nor will your love be greater than His.
The works of Bl. Padre Diego (the missionary Jesuit who brought him along) and St. Pedro Calungsod were not appreciated by everybody but they continue to do God’s work. They persevered to the end because in their minds and hearts it was not God’s work that they did but rather it was God’s love that they shared!
May the life of St. Pedro Calungsod be our inspiration when it comes to serving the people of God in the Church. Let us not consider it simply as work but instead a labor of love. Let us not only see it as simply God’s work but our way of sharing God’s love to our fellow men.
St. Pedro Calungsod, pray for us!
Below is a simple video presentation of his life: