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Knowing Blessed Pedro Calungsod

 

Who is Blessed Pedro Calungsod?

 

There is a limited knowledge about him. There is no existing picture of him. There is no biography about his life. He left no writing. Yet his life is a lasting message of service and faithfulness to his fellowmen and to God.

 

On his own free will, Pedro Calungsod in 1668 joined the Spanish missionaries from the Philippine to a mission in Marianas, now Guam. He showed perseverance and strong determination in spite of hardships and difficulties of missionary life. There were vast jungles to tread. There were high and dangerous mountains to cross. There were frequent devastating storms to endure. There were irregular and meager provisions for the missions. Yet, Pedro Calungsod did not give up. He continued.

 

Amidst threats of physical harm and intriguing lies circulated by envious quack doctors that their baptismal water was poisonous, Pedro- together with the missionaries- went to baptize and win converts to the Faith. In spite of the danger of death, the superior of the mission, Father Diego Luis de San Vitores and Pedro went to the village of Tomhon. They appealed to the father of the newborn infant to have his child baptized. Aside from refusing, the father-named of Matapang- vowed to kill them. He incited a fellow native Hirao to help him to accomplish his evil plan of eliminating Father Diego and Pedro.

 

Pedro could have possibly left the place if chose. He could have escaped and abandoned Father Diego and saved himself. Yet, Father Diego and Pedro gathered the children and the adults of that village for catechism. And, with the consent of the mother, they succeeded in baptizing Matapang’s child. But when Matapang learned that his child has been baptized, he violently attacked Pedro by hurling spears at him. Pedro- with his youth and strength- could have defeated Matapang. Pedro- with his agility- could have run fast and escaped. Yet, he stayed with Father Diego. He remained faithful to Father Diego and to the Faith to the end.

 

Finally Pedro was hit by a spear. As he fell, Hirao immediately rushed towards him and struck his head with a catana. Father Diego gave Pedro the sacramental absolution. Then Matapang and Hirao turned to Father Diego and killed him, too. They dragged the bodies to the edge of the shore. They tied large stones to the lifeless bodies and threw them into the depths of the sea.

 

Pedro had proved himself a loyal and faithful soldier of Christ with his persevering faith to the point of death. He translated his very life to the fulfillment of the commands of Jesus. He gave witness to words of Jesus who said “there is no greater love than this, to give one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

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Diocese of Balanga
(Bataan, Philippines)

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