Vince Tanada recently took a quick break and spent a few days in Cagayan de Oro province, together with some ‘Stagers’ of Philippine Stagers Foundation.
They badly needed a break, after a hectic schedule of performances in their latest play “Bonifacio: Isang Sarsuwela”. Their alternates – also Stagers of PSF- filled-in and acted as ‘alternates’ for them at the said play, while they were away for a brief vacation mixed with marketing work.
Now, Vince is gearing himself up and readying himself for another play- the “San Pedro: The Musical” play- which will be staged on the month of September.
He is now in “total focus” for the pre-production and writing stage of the said play, inspiring himself with beautiful people and mingling himself with “very good souls”? Haha.
Yes, Vince badly needs now some “saintly” company to be able to write another beautiful play, and the most challenging at that!
Because one blogger told Vince- “It should be the best, papa Vince. It is the life of our young Saint- a fellow Filipino- and the most precious one!”
That’s why Vince is so challenged now. After the great success of his latest play on Andres Bonifacio, people went clamoring for more, and expectations went higher this time around!
“I really want to present a very beautiful play on the life of our second beloved Saint”, Vince replied to the blogger. “I guess, this is going to be the biggest challenge for me! This excites me so much because it’s about the life of a male Filipino youth, and you see, most of PSF’s fans are young people. I must present them and give them the most beautiful reward of how is it to become young, good and holy.”
Jordan Ladra will be portraying San Pedro Calungsod and Vince is going to be Diego Luis de San Vitores. It’s going to be a musical play and as of this early, musician Pipo Cifra is now energizing himself to compose “spiritually-enriching” songs.
A friend will be very, very happy once this play opens… forever.
(words by robert manuguid silverio)
Saint Pedro Calungsod of Cebu (Latin: Petrus Calungsod, Italian: Pietro Calungsod; born: 1654– died: 2 April 1672), also known as San Pedro Calungsod de Cebu or Pedro Calonsor, is a Roman Catholic young Filipino saint and was a migrant, sacristan and missionary catechist, who along with the Spanish Jesuitmissionary, 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 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 (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 Boholalso 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 amongst 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 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.
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 Vitores, tied large stones to their feet, brought them out to sea on their proas and threw them into the water.
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.
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.
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 inRome.
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.|
On 19 December 2011, the Holy See officially approved the miracle qualifying Calungsod for sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church. The recognised miracledates 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 XVIapproved 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. The Pope set the date for the canonization on 21 October 2012 (World Mission Sunday), 340 years after Calungsod’s death.
On 21 October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI canonized Calungsod in Saint Peter’s Square. The Pope donned a pearl-studded mitre and a cream pleated Papal fanon, a special vestment reserved only for the pontiff in the most solemn and rare liturgical occasions. Filipino Cardinal Ricardo Jamin Vidal concelebrated withPope Benedict XVI at the official canonisation Mass for Calungsod whilst amongst 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 fromDiego 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 Diego Luis de San Vitores every 2 April. However, whenever April 2 falls within Holy Week or within the Octave of Easter, his feast is celebrated on the Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent (that is, the Saturday before Palm Sunday, just as April 2, 1672, was).
Saturday has been designated as the day of devotion in his honor.
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 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:
- 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.
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.
The first portraits of Pedro Calungsod were drawings done by award-winning artist, sculptor, and designer Eduardo Castrillo 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. 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 Saint 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 was enshrined at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint 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 thecatana used to kill him is set into the arm of the statue.
For the Canonization celebrations, the sculpture by Justino Cagayat Jr. depicting Calungsod in midstride and carrying the Doctrina Christian and the martyr’s palm pressed to his chest was chosen. This image was brought to Rome for the Canonization festivities. Upon its return to the Philippines, the image toured the country. These visits are currently ongoing to promote devotion to Calungsod. When not on a pilgrimage tour, the image is enshrined at the Cebu Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Pedro Calungsod inside the Archbishop’s Residence Compound, D. Jakosalem Street, Cebu City.