It has been more than a decade since the first Filipino saint was beatified. Lorenzo Ruiz. He was martyred in Nagasaki along with eight other Dominican priests. Since then, the Philippine Church has been paving the way for other noble Filipinos who, through their past heroic faith and courage, are deemed worthy of being officially proclaimed beatus, blessed. There are Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, founder of the Religious of the Virgin Mary, the largest religious congregation for women in the Philippines, and Francisca del Espiritu Santo, founder of the Dominican Sisters of Siena in the Philippines. Both women lived in the 17th century.
It was faith, and fate that brought them to the church's mission of evangelization. They came from all walks of life; regardless of color, wealth or origin, their missionary zeal stood as a living witness to the faith even at the point of death.
Pedro Calungsod, a 15th century Visayan, was no exception. At about 13 or 15, he was already helping in the local Jesuit catechesis. At 18, he was martyred "in hatred of the faith" by two Guam natives, while trying to protect Jesuit priest Diego Luis San Vitores. San Vitores was later beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1985.
The road to sainthood
For many years, the figure of Calungsod had been left to oblivion, until the Archdiocese of Manila pushed for his elevation to the pantheon of saints.
The Archdiocese of Cebu has been working on Calungsod's case since the 80's. It has included in its masses a prayer for beatification before the final blessing. A growing number of literature is also being produced about Calungsod.
Many devotees feel that Calungsod's beatification is imminent, in time for the several beatifications scheduled on the great Jubilee Year 2000.
A report published in Today newspaper said the vice postulator for Calungsod's beatification, Father Ildebrando Aliño Leyson, had recently been informed by the Roman Congregation for the Canonization of Saints, that the body would "take up the dossier on the young Filipino proto-martyr from the Visayas, formally discussing and passing at least a preliminary judgment on his case," an optimistic phase for Calungsod's speedy elevation. A plus factor in Calungsod's cause is that he died a teenager and he should thus stand as a model and inspiration for the Filipino youth. Calungsod is the perfect example to Pope John Paul II's idea of a youth dedicated to the Church's mission of evangelization.