How did Padre Diego and Pedro die?

When Matapang learned of the baptism, he became even more furious. He violently hurled spears first at Pedro. The lad skirted the darting spears with remarkable dexterity. Witnesses said that Pedro had all the chances to escape because he was very agile, but he did not want to leave Padre Diego alone. Those who personally knew Pedro believed that he would have defeated his fierce aggressors and would have freed both himself and Padre Diego if only he had some weapon because he was a valiant boy; but Padre Diego never allowed his companions to carry arms because they were missionaries of peace. Finally, Pedro got hit by a spear at the chest and he fell to the ground. Hirao immediately charged towards him and finished him off with a blow of a cutlass on the head. Padre Diego could not do anything except to raise a crucifix and give Pedro the final sacramental absolution. After that, the assassins also killed Padre Diego. Matapang took the crucifix of Padre Diego and pounded it with a stone while blaspheming God.

From A CATECHETICAL PRIMER ON THE LIFE, MARTYRDOM AND GLORIFICATION OF BLESSED PEDRO CALUNGSOD by Msgr. Ildebrando Jesus Aliño Leyson

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How did St. Pedro ….

How did Pedro become part of the Jesuit Mission in the Ladrones?

It was one of the apostolates of the Jesuits who were evangelizing the Visayas in the 1600’s to train young boys as assistants or catechists to help them in their missions. The training was done in Jesuit‐run boarding schools for boys. Pedro may have attended one of the Jesuit boarding schools for boys and thus was among those brought by the Jesuit priest Fr. Diego Luís de San Vitores to start the Mission at the Ladrones Islands together with other Jesuits.

How did the missionaries arrive in the Ladrones?

Overcoming all difficulties, the missionaries left with the ship named “San Diego” from the port of Cavite on August 7, 1667. They sailed first to Acapulco in Mexico to get some provisions for the Mission. They arrived in Acapulco on January 6, 1668 and stayed there until March 23, 1668 when they left for the Ladrones. They reached the island of Guam in the Ladrones on June 15, 1668.

From A CATECHETICAL PRIMER ON THE LIFE, MARTYRDOM AND GLORIFICATION OF BLESSED PEDRO CALUNGSOD by Msgr. Ildebrando Jesus Aliño Leyson

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Timeline of St. Pedro Calungsod

by Msgr. Ildebrando Jesus Aliño Leyson

c. 1655 ? birth in the Visayas

1667 August 7 departure from the Philippines for the Ladrones

1668 January 6 stop-over in Acapulco, Mexico

1668 March 23 departure from Acapulco to the Ladrones

1668 June 16 arrival in the island of Guam, Ladrones

1672 April 2 martyrdom in the village of Tumhon, Guam, Marianas (formerly known as Ladrones)

1985 October 6 beatfication of Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores; rediscovery of Pedro Calungsod whose name and manner of death appears in the documents on the martyrdom of Bl. Diego Luis de San Vitores

1994 November 21 opening of the Diocesan Process for the Cause for the Beatification of Pedro Calungsod in Cebu

1994 December 28 conclusion of the Diocesan Process for the Cause of the Beatification of Pedro Calungsod

1997 March 21 the Vatican recognizes the validity of the Diocesan Process

1998 June 25 submission of the Positio Super Martyrio to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints

1999 October 5 Vatican Historians give a unanimous affirmative vote on the authenticity of the historical documents about Pedro Calungsod

2000 January 4 Vatican Theologians give a unanimous affirmative vote on the authenticity of the martyrdom of Pedro Calungsod

2000 January 11 Vatican Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops give unanimous affirmative vote for the beatification of Pedro Calungsod

2000 January 27 Pope John Paul II promulgates of the Decree on the Martyrdom of Pedro Calungsod

2000 March 5 Beatification of Pedro Calungsod by Pope John Paul II at St. Peter’s Square

2004 December 15 start of the Diocesan Process on a presumed miracle of Bl. Pedro Calungsod

2005 June 6 conclusion of the Diocesan Process on a presumed miracle of Bl. Pedro Calungsod

2005 November 25 the Vatican recognizes of the validity of the Diocesan Process on a presumed miracle of Bl. Pedro Calungsod

2006 May 18 submission of the Positio Super Miro of Bl. Pedro Calungsod to the Vatican

2011 March 24 Vatican physicians give affirmative votes that the presumed miracle attributed to Bl. Pedro Calungsod was indeed supernatural or beyond scientific explanation

2011 July 2 Vatican theologians give a unanimous affirmative vote that the presumed miracle has indeed been wrought about through the intercession of Bl. Pedro Calungsod

2011 October 11 Vatican Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops give a unanimous affirmative vote that the presumed supernatural occurrence could indeed be miraculous and that it is opportune to canonize Bl. Pedro Calungsod

2011 December 19 Pope Benedict XVI promulgates the Decree on the Miracle of Bl. Pedro Calungsod

2012 February 18 Pope Benedict XVI receives the assent of the Cardinals gathered in a Consistory in favor of the Canonization of Bl. Pedro Calungsod and announces the date of the Canonization

2012 October 21 Canonization of Bl. Pedro Calungsod at St. Peter’s Square in Rome

2012 November 30 National Thanksgiving Mass in Cebu for the Canonization

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The Virtues of St. Pedro Calungsod

 Fortitude.

Of the cardinal virtues which Pedro Calungsod possessed, fortitude shines out clearly in his courage and perseverance to teach the Christian Faith to the Chamorros even in the midst of hostility, in his resolve to stay with and assist the superior of the Mission, Fr. de San Vitores, even in the time of adversity. Fortitude finally made him face a violent death on account of the Faith.

Spiritual Poverty.
Pedro Calungsod was poor in spirit for he was able to leave everything behind at a tender age—beloved family and homeland and a convenient life—all in order to follow God’s call that is to proclaim the Gospel to the Chamorros.

Chastity.
In order to guard his purity, Pedro Calungsod always devoted his time on prayer and meditation. Despite the difficult life and tight schedule in the Mission, Pedro Calungsod never neglected his prayers which kept him faithful to Christ.

Strong devotion to the Eucharist.
Pedro Calungsod always attend the holy Mass and receive Holy Communion before going out into a missionary journey.

Frequent Confession.
Frequent confession is one of his holy practices. He never allows a day without confession and receiving absolution. That made him ready to face death anytime.

Faith.
It was because of his belief that Pedro Calungsod studied the truths of the Catholic Faith. At the same time, it was his knowledge of the truths of the Faith that helped deepen his faith. Fr. de San Vitores chose men of deep faith as his companion missionaries in the Marianas who would evangelize the Chamorros more by example than by words, that is, through faith translated into good works. Pedro Calungsod must have deeply possessed and lived the Christian Faith because he was among those chosen by Fr. de San Vitores to be his companion missionaries in the Marianas. Even more, Pedro Calungsod must have lived this virtue in a very remarkable way so much so that perhaps he must have been one of Fr. de San Vitores’ best, most trusted and closest collaborators because it is said that he was a long-time companion of the said Father, meaning to say, that he was always working side by side with Fr. de San Vitores. This becomes plainly seen when, out of the several missionaries, Pedro Calungsod was chosen by Fr. de San Vitores to be his lone companion during that critical moment of the Mission and in that fateful journey to Tomhom where they both gave their final witness to the Christian Faith.

Putting aside these considerations, we can still say that Pedro Calungsod had a deep faith in God by the mere fact that he spent his young life in and for the Catholic Faith through teaching catechism in the Mission despite difficulties and dangers.

Finally, Pedro Calungsod was killed by the enemies of the Faith. Indeed, he professed his faith until death, a fact which gave more courage to Fr. de San Vitores to die also for the same Faith.

Hope.
It may be said that Pedro Calungsod’s perseverance in the difficult and troubled Mariana Mission was sustained by his Christian hope for eternal salvation and happiness after such earthly trials. He himself must have communicated this hope to others more by example than by words. In a particular way, if his death gave more courage to Fr. de San Vitores to die also for the Faith, it can be said that Pedro Calungsod demonstrated this hope through his willing acceptance of martyrdom.

Charity.
The foundation of all the goodness of Pedro Calungsod cannot be but his great love for God and love for his fellowmen as manifested in the following facts which also reveal his other virtues:
—in his zeal to join and help the foreign Mission in the Marianas, a zeal which must have been inspired also by the example of Fr. de San Vitores;
—in his dedicated service in the Mission —a quality that may have even edified the Superior of the Mission, Fr. de San Vitores;
—in his selflessness in risking his young life in a troubled far-from-home Mission;
—in his perseverance in serving the difficult Mission right from the start in 1668 up to his violent death in 1672;
—in living what he taught, so much so that he was remembered to be a virtuous catechist;
—in his heroic obedience to Fr. de San Vitores, accompanying the latter in an apostolic task even in the time of imminent danger when he ought to have taken refuge immediately in the fortified Residence; and in not carrying any weapon for self protection as willed by Fr. de San Vitores;
—in his courage to teach the Christian Faith to the Chamorros even in the midst of hostility;
—in his faithfulness to Fr. de San Vitores whose mission he always supported and whom he never abandoned even in the time of adversity, thereby imitating Jesus Christ who showed the greatest love in laying down his life for his friends (cf. Jn. 15:13);
—in his humility in not using his physical prowess to defend himself or to defeat his aggressors;
—in his non-violent response to his aggressors;
—in shedding his blood for the Christian Faith, thereby proving himself to be a good soldier of Christ;
—in being an edifying Christian, for his death even gave new courage to Fr. de San Vitores to die also for the Christian Faith.

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The Martyrdom

Pedro Calungsod may only have been in his early teens (between 12 and 15 years old) when he went with Padre Diego to Guam in 1668. He was one of the young catechists who went with some Spanish Jesuit missionaries to the Ladrones Islands to evangelize the Chamorros. At that time, the Ladrones Islands were part of the Diocese of Cebu.

Life in the Ladrones was difficult. Despite the hardships, the missionaries persevered, and the Mission was blessed with many conversions. The first mission residence and church were built in the town of Hagatña [Agadña; Agaña; Agana] in the island of Guam. Subsequently, the islands were renamed “Marianas” by the missionaries in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the then queen regent of Spain, Maria Ana, who was the benefactress of that Mission.

A man named Choco became envious of the prestige that the missionaries were gaining among the Chamorros. He started to spread rumors that the baptismal water of the missionaries was poisonous. Because some sickly Chamorro infants who had been baptized died, many believed Choco and eventually apostatized. Choco found an ally in the local medicine man, Macanjas, and the Urritaos, young native men who were given to some immoral practices. These, along with the apostates, began to persecute the missionaries, many of whom were killed.

Martyrdom came to Padre Diego and Pedro Calungsod on April 2, 1672 which was the Saturday before Passion Sunday of that year.

At around seven o’clock that morning, Padre Diego and Pedro Calungsod went to the village of Tumhon in Guam because they were told that a baby girl was just born in the village. They went to ask Matapang, the child’s father, to bring the baby out for baptism. Matapang had been a Christian and a friend of the missionaries but had apostatized. He angrily refused to have his baby christened.

To give Matapang some time to cool down, Padre Diego and Pedro gathered the children and some adults of the village at the nearby shore and started chanting with them the truths of the Catholic Faith. They invited Matapang to join them, but the apostate shouted back that he was angry with God and was already fed up with the Christian teachings.

Determined to kill the missionaries, Matapang went out to ask for the help of another villager, named Hirao, who was not a Christian. At first, Hirao refused. He knew of the kindness of the missionaries towards the natives. But Matapang chided him for being a coward. Hirao changed his mind and decided to join Matapang.

While Matapang was away, Padre Diego and Pedro obtained the permission of the baby’s Christian mother and baptized the newborn child.

Matapang was enraged when he found out. He attacked the missionaries with spears. He first went after Pedro who presumably tried to defend the priest. Pedro was able to dodge the spears with remarkable dexterity. Witnesses said that Pedro had all the chances to escape because he was very agile, but he did not want to leave Padre Diego alone.

Those who personally knew Pedro believed that he would have defeated his aggressors and would have freed both himself and Padre Diego if only he had some weapon. But Padre Diego never allowed his companions to carry arms.

Finally, Pedro got hit by a spear in the chest and fell to the ground. Hirao immediately charged towards him and finished him off with a blow of a cutlass to the head. Padre Diego could not do anything except to raise a crucifix and give Pedro the final sacramental absolution. After that, the assassins killed Padre Diego.

Matapang took the crucifix of Padre Diego and crushed it with a stone while blaspheming God. Then, both assassins ripped the clothes off Pedro and Padre Diego. They dragged them to the shore, tied large stones to their feet. They brought their bodies out to sea on a proa and threw them into the deep. The remains of the martyrs were never to be found.

The faith that was planted in the Marianas in 1668 did not die with Padre Diego, Pedro Calungsod and the first missionaries. It grew, thanks to the blood of the martyrs and the perseverance of the succeeding missionaries.

Source:
Pedro Calungsod Bisaya, Prospects of a Teenage Filipino by Msgr. Ildebrando Jesus Alino Leyson

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The Life of A Martyr

A Very Common Name

“Calungsod” is a very native and descriptive Visayan family name. It is variously spelled in the different documents as “Calonsor,” “Calongsor,” “Calangsor,” or “Calansor”. His real family name must have been Calungsod . The variations of the spelling in the documents may have been due to the Spanish authors’ inability to hear a Filipino name accurately.

Nowadays, it is difficult to trace the place of origin of the “Calungsod” families. They can be found in different provinces of the Philippines. However, they are most numerous in the Visayan towns of Ginatilan in Cebu, Hinundayan and Hinunangan in southern Leyte, and in the Molo district of Iloilo City in Panay.

His baptismal record cannot be found because the baptismal records of the 17th century in the Visayas have been destroyed by either fires, typhoons or termites.

The documents on the martyrdom of Padre Diego de San Vitores, SJ are the only source of information about Blessed Pedro Calungsod. In these documents Pedro Calungsod was referred to as the faithful assistant of Padre Diego in the mission, a catechist.

He was praised because “he merited the happiness of accompanying the Venerable Padre in his death” (“merecio la dicha de acompanar al Venerable Padre en su muerte”).

 

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