Blessed PedroBy loreen sarmiento
Cebu Daily News
I was part of the privileged group invited last Monday to watch the documentary film about the martyrdom of the first soon-to-be-declared Visayan saint — Blessed Pedro Calungsod. This same movie, produced by Cebu Catholic Television Network or CCTN (thanks to the generosity of its founder Nonito “Dodong” Limchua), will be brought to the Vatican in Rome for showing on the occasion of Blessed Pedro’s canonization on Oct. 21, 2012. So, this is a great source of pride for us Cebuanos to be involved in a historic Christian event.
That’s why I was beaming with honor for sitting there and watching the hour-long movie. It was a great production. I can’t imagine such cinematic quality after knowing that there was only one camera used and the simplest resources during the three-day shooting at Sayaw, Barili town.
Directed by Dante Luzon and Rey Samaco and written by Ms. Debbie Sta. Cruz, the movie depicted Blessed Pedro’s life from the time he was a young Roman Catholic catechist in a Jesuit boarding school, who along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered religious persecution and martyrdom in Guam for their missionary work in 1672. Blessed Pedro was 18 years old. After a little over three decades, he will be canonized as a saint!
At such a young age, Blessed Pedro showed us that martyrdom goes beyond age or great deeds. He was doing the simple task of helping a missionary priest in evangelization work in a foreign country. But his simplicity was full of passion for the Catholic faith that he risked his own life for the mission until he was brutally killed by natives in 1672. So who says a young man can’t be a saint?
Last year in December, the Holy See qualified Blessed Pedro for sainthood after it officially approved a 2002 miracle when a Leyte woman who was pronounced clinically dead by accredited physicians two hours after a heart attack was revived when a doctor prayed for Calungsod’s intercession.
Before the Calungsod movie, a short drama was also shown depicting a miracle that happened to a young man in a coma who was miraculously brought back to health after his son prayed daily to Blessed Pedro for intercession. It was told that there have been numerous healings of people who have invoked the help of the young Calungsod.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, in his message after the movie showing, said the young Blessed Pedro is an exemplary model of holiness for the youth today. In this age of modern technology and worldly attractions, it is good for the youth to look up to a young saint and to strengthen their faith in God.
Blessed Pedro withstood the dangers of his time. He faced the challenge of being a stranger in a foreign land. He died for his faith.
Similarly, our youth face the same danger today. Not with hostile natives, but there is the lure of drugs and sex around. Some feel like a stranger in their own house because of absentee parents. They face discrimination for not conforming to standards of society –be it physical or intellectual. Love is not felt. And all these can kill a youth inside and out.
However, if they can only embrace Jesus and His unconditional love in the same way Blessed Pedro did, they can die, too, for the faith – not the physical death of Blessed Pedro but death to sin. Temptations and the feeling of isolation and being unloved can be trampled with the greater love of God for him.
Now don’t scoff at the thought of becoming a saint like Blessed Pedro. It is not impossible. I’m sure Blessed Pedro didn’t dream of becoming a saint at his tender age. All he wanted to do was to teach young people about God and to help in the mission.
When we make our lives meaningful even in doing ordinary tasks and in accordance with God’s commandments, we don’t need to be canonized. Young and old, we are all called to be saints. It’s up to us to heed the call and do right with our lives.
After Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, Calungsod will be the second Filipino declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. Filipinos are not only put in the annals of the Holy Church but this coming canonization inspires us that if our lives are lived for God, nothing is impossible.
All roads lead to the Vatican next month. The countdown has started for Blessed Pedro’s canonization.
The countdown has also started for us to change our lives, be holy and be prepared for that day when we come face to face with God and tell Him how we have lived our lives. I can imagine God not only canonizing us. More than that, He will gladly open His arms and welcome us to His heavenly Kingdom.
Thank you Saint Pedro Calungsod for your life of faith and your death for God. “…intercede for us before the throne of Mercy and Grace so that, as we experience the help of heaven, we may be encouraged to live and proclaim the Gospel here on earth. Amen”
Cheer us on to finish this race and go for the greatest prize– eternal life with God.
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