THE Cebu Archdiocese welcomed the decision of President Benigno Aquino III to declare Oct. 21 a national day of celebration for the canonization of Visayan martyr Pedro Calungsod.
“Sainthood is not just for Catholics and the Church but for the whole community as well. That is the social dimension of faith,” said Msgr. Esteban Binghay, episcopal vicar of the archdiocese.
Presidential proclamation No. 481 was signed last Oct. 1 by President Aquino “declaring Sunday, October 21, 2012 as a national day of celebration due to the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod.”
Calungsod will be the second Filipino saint, next to San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila.
In his proclamation, a copy of which was posted in the website of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the President said Calungsod’s life and martyrdom should serve as an inspiration to the Filipinos.
President Aquino, who’s sending Vice President Jejomar Binay to be his representative during the canonization, said Calungsod’s example should especially inspire the youth to live a life anchored on values and principles.
“The honor and recognition to be given to Calungsod on Oct. 21 shall instill national pride in the hearts of Filipinos worldwide,” President Aquino said.
Binghay told Cebu Daily News that Calungsod’s imminent canonization doesn’t preclude persons from other denominations who also deserve to be called saints as well.
“There are several Muslim and Protestant brothers and sisters who lived a life of holiness and performed their responsibilities well,” Binghay said.
Calungsod, the second Filipino saint, will be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 21 at St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Italy.
A national thanksgiving Mass for the canonization of Calungsod will be held at the South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City on Nov. 30, 2012.
Binghay said Calungsod’s sainthood has a message to convey to all Filipinos especially the youth.
“Most of our young people are easy-go-lucky. They have the attitude of ‘if you life it, do it. If you don’t like it, don’t it.’ That is misleading,” he said.
Binghay said young people should emulate the virtues and the life lived by Calungsod.
Though Calungsod gave up his life for the faith, Binghay said anyone who doesn’t undergo martyrdom can still become a saint.
The Cebu Archdiocese earlier set a P60 million budget which will be used for the canonization expenses in Rome as well as the national thanksgiving celebration in Cebu City.
Part of the budget will be used to print booklets to teach people about the life of Calungsod.
Cebu’s 147 parishes and all 376 diocesan priests are also encouraged to raise donations for the activity.
A fundraising activity is also being made to help defray the costs.
Last May, artwork by renowned Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobunpue was launched as a limited edition commemorative sculptural piece for donors who give P25,000.
The donation comes with a chance to win a raffle prize of two BMW cars and an SUV.
Last Aug. 7, Vidal led the ceremonial groundbreaking for the templete or a little temple that will house the national thanksgiving Mass on Nov. 30.
SM Prime Holdings Inc. pledged to develop 1,200 square meters of reclaimed land where church officials expect around a million people to gather for the liturgical celebration.
The Cebu Archdiocese is reminding those who will be attending the canonization rites in Rome to return to the country.
“This is a pilgrimage. After the canonization, pilgrims should back. This is not a tour,” said Msgr. Achilles Dakay, chairman of the committee on pilgrims to Rome.
A group of 10 priests, 10 nuns, and six catechists are being sponsored by the archdiocese, and need not pay for the travel or visa fees. Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol and Correspondent Jessa Chrisna Marie P. Agua