Courage for the youngCebu Daily News
It was with universal acclaim, at least throughout the Catholic world, that Visayan martyr Pedro Calungsod and six others were inducted into the halls of sainthood by Pope Benedict XVI yesterday.
This bodes well for the faithful who now have one more patron saint to look up to.
Calungsod’s canonization has unified and sparked an overflowing sense of reverence and optimism among the Catholic faithful who see in the teenage Visayan martyr a positive example for Filipino youths already caught up with so many material distractions.
Long after the glow of the canonization ceremonies had died down—though not in the next few weeks as a Thanksgiving Mass will be held at the South Road Properties (SRP) on Nov. 30—the Catholic Church in the country will have to work double time to draw upon the example set by Calungsod and cascade his values to young parishioners whose devotion may easily turn again to more worldly attractions.
Of much that has been said about Calungsod, his depiction as a boy who left behind home to go on a dangerous mission abroad to spread the faith, and later choose to stay by the side of an aging priest under attack by angry natives, strikes home the most.
The courage behind that young life challenges us to ask ourselves whether we would be as bold to stand up for our beliefs.
Fr. Carmelo Diola of Dilaab Foundation said he found these struggles of the young sacristan particularly significant.
He noted that the decisions were not made on a whim. Leaving one’s country in the 17th century for a pagan land was almost a sure ticket never to return.
Like a soldier commissioned to go to battle, a boy of 12 or 13 years old sailed forth to the Marianas Island and an uncertain life of hardship with new companions and a zealous missionary.
While a sense of adventure must have also spurred the young Pedro, it took much more for him to stay faithful in his four-year assignment up to his violent death.
Love and duty could be the only human explanation for his action.
But something more divine intervened, making this young, almost-forgotten life, discovered over 300 years later to be held up as an example for all.
Yesterday’s canonization rites just formalized his status.
With his place in Church history secure, Pedro Calungsod can live on as a symbol for the young to to value a deep-set faith and courage to serve others, wherever they find them.
For that alone, Calungsod is worthy of one’s respect.
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