Emulate Pedro Calungsod.”
That was the theme of the Thanksgiving Mass held at the St. Peter’s Basilica a day after Visayan martyr Pedro Calungsod joined the ranks of saints in rites held at Rome, Italy and televised around the world.
With the sonorous voices of the Mandaue Children and Youth Chorus filling the hallowed halls of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Filipino Catholic faithful in Rome attended a Thanksgiving Mass to celebrate Calungsod’s sainthood.
Estimated at 30,000 the devotees gathered around the altar on the northern part of the basilica for the liturgy that capped the celebrations in Rome yesterday.
Clad in red liturgical vestment that symbolized the blood shed by martyr, Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal presided over the Mass at around 8 a.m. in Rome.
Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana, Guam, the place where Calungsod was martyed in 1672, delivered the homily.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, along with Cebuano and other Filipino priests numbering about 250, were also present during the celebration.
“It was very moving to see the joyful faces of the Filipinos here despite their hectic schedules during their pilgrimages,” said Fr. Charles Jayme in a text message to Cebu Daily News yesterday.
“This is one of the many expressions of our devotion to Saint Pedro. I hope this will become concrete on how we live our lives,” he added.
Fr. Dan Angeles, who was among those in the delegation, recounted to Cebu Daily News through text message the events during the Mass.
“Mood prayerful despite slow entry to cordoned area of St. Peter’s Square. Vice President Jejomar Binay took communion from the Pope. A Filipina resident of Milan, Italy overjoyed to see so many Filipinos at St. Peter’s Square for the first time,” Angeles’s text message to Cebu Daily News read.
Angeles also said Guam Arcbjshop Apuron sang in his homily two stanzas of a Cebuano-English he composed for San Pedro Calungsod.
In his homily, Apuron voiced the joy of the Church in welcoming Calungsod to sainthood.
“Today is a great day for the Church of the world, the Philippines, Cebu, and Guam,” he told the congregation.
But more than the celebration, Apuron challenged the faithful to emulate the virtues of Calungsod.
“Pedro stood as an ultimate witness to the life of Jesus. He is a shining example for us to live the life of Jesus and an example to the youth in this modern world,” he said.
Apuron said the elevation to sainthood of seven persons last Sunday convey a message to everyone.
“The canonization of the new seven saints is a reminder to us that our true vocation is to become holy and to become saints,” he said.
During the Mass, the image of Calungsod was placed below the mosaic of the Holy Spirit on the Church’s northern part.
The basilica’s main altar located on the center, wasn’t used for the thanksgiving.
The main altar is used by the Pope during liturgical celebrations inside the basilica.
Lying directly below the main altar is the tomb of St. Peter the Apostle who is first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
Yesterday’s thanksgiving Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica culminated the series of activities for the canonization of Calungsod in Rome.
On Thursday, Calungsod’s image will arrive in Manila to start the Duaw Nasud or a nationwide pilgrimage.
A grand welcome is being prepared for Calungsod which will arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.
On Nov. 30, a national thanksgiving Mass will be held at the South Road Properties in Cebu City to celebrate Calungsod’s sainthood.
The Cebu archdiocese is raising P60 million for the expenses in both celebrations in Rome and Cebu.
As of Oct. 18, the archdiocese gathered P30 to P35 million or half of the target P60 million budget of the archdiocese.
Msgr. Esteban Binghay, episcopal vicar of the Cebu archdiocese, clarified that the expenses of priests who went to Rome for the canonization were not taken from the budget for the celebrations.
“The money used by priests in going to Rome was taken from their own pockets. There were others who had to look for sponsors in order to attend the canonization,” he told Cebu Daily News.
Binghay said priests and parishes in Cebu were instead asked to donate amounts in order to meet the P60 million target for the celebrations in Rome and Cebu.
Binghay said each parish priest in the archdiocese is requested to donate between P2,000 to P20,000 depending on the category of the parish where they are assigned.
Binghay said episcopal vicars like him also gave P5,000 each while parochial vicars were requested to donate P2,000 each.
Resident priests, who stay in parishes without permanent assignments, are also requested to give P1,000 each.
National Thanksgiving Day
Binghay said the deadline for them to give their respective donations was last Sept. 15.
“Most probably, everyone has paid by now,” he said. The Duaw Nasud will start in Manila on Oct. 25.
On Nov. 27, Calungsod’s image will be brought to Cebu via Getafe port.
The image will be carried by a passenger fastcraft which will dock in Pier 1 in Cebu City.
The image will be brought to the Calungsod Shrine in Archbishop Palace.
Triduum masses will be held from Nov. 27, 28 and 29 prior to the National Thanksgiving Day on Nov. 30.
Last week, church officials said the construction of templete and the development of the site at the South Road Properties (SRP) is 60 percent finished. The lot is donated by SM.
Prior to the Mass, a fluvial procession bringing the image of Calungsod from Ouano Wharf in Mandaue city towards the SRP. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter with a report from Correspondent Jhunnex Napallacan