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My Kuya Pedro: Young and Holy
TIME really flies so quickly. Twenty-five years after the Canonization of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, the Church will now declare Blessed Pedro Calungsod as the Second Filipino Saint. An exemplar of the youth and a martyr for the faith, he is now enjoined among the white-robed army of Saints who always offer worship and praise to the Holy Triune God, interceding him for our needs and aspirations.
Though his ancestral background is unknown, we know nevertheless that Blessed Pedro was born and raised somewhere in the Visayas, formed to the faith by the Jesuits, and, at a young age, offered his life and ministry for the people of the Marianas. It was there that God called him to testify by his blood under the furious Matap’ang, declaring his bold and unscathed desire to dedicate his everything for the Gospel.
As a teenager, Pedro was faced with many circumstances, he may have even saved his life from the fury of the Chamorros, but at that certain point in his life, he made a bold decision not to leave Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores; he decided to bring his young ministry to the ultimate, and for this he is rewarded with the palm of martyrdom.
We look back at the annals of history and see that Pedro, like Lorenzo Ruiz, was also raised in the Christian faith; he was also ‘driven’ by the Holy Spirit to a far-off area to proclaim God’s Word to people who do not know him yet. Like Lorenzo who willed to offer a thousand lives to God if ever he had it, Pedro willed that, in his young stature, he offer his life in order that Christ’s salvation be more spread throughout.
So, can we say that there is still a battle among the Tagalogs and the Visayas in Heaven? I don’t think so. Some people call Pedro Calungsod as the first martyr of the Visayas, which is indeed true. As a teenage Visayan who gave up his life for God, he is truly considered as a son of the Visayan people, but also of the Tagalogs and the other ethnic groups, which form the One Philippines. He is not only invoked as a fellow Visayan, but he is also invoked as a Filipino, a Saint!
Pedro is young, but this didn’t stop him from bringing God’s love to others. Despite his tender stature, he unwaveringly left his homeland to bring the glorious Cross to the natives of Marianas, knowing that he might not return anymore. He left his comfort zone to follow God’s call, and in his death he received his reward.
Pedro’s example show that, young as we are, we can still live a life that is dedicated to God. In this society that is full of errors of modernity and secularism, in the midst of a people who are just concerned with personal matters, Pedro comes as a proof that we can still offer our lives for the Good News of salvation. Without hesitation, we can offer our lives for God. Without reservation, we can bring Christ to people who do not know him yet. We cannot say we are young; for all of us are called in God’s opportune time.
As for me, I continuously feel the support of my big KUYA, especially on the trying times. As my patron, I entrust to him my fate as a young professional. Adventurous as may be, I know Kuya Pedro would guide me as I proceed through the problems of my time. I know that as he unwaveringly offered his life for Christ, I too can be a living testimony of God’s love to everyone around me. With his inspiration, I can also be a missionary of love to others, offering my all for the Good News.
Now, as we celebrate the Canonization of (let me call him thus) Saint Pedro Calungsod, we are more assured that we have a companion who would continuously guide us, especially the youth, towards holiness. We are more consoled at the thought that Lorenzo would now have a partner to pray for our needs as individuals and as a Filipino nation.
Kuya Pedro, you know how we feel, how we act, how we live as Filipinos in this land of exile. Pray for us as we continue to traverse through the journey of life. Grant us the strength that we may also be able to proclaim Christ to people around me. May we never doubt in giving our lives to you and for you. Pray for the Filipino people, especially the youth, as we ask you and Lorenzo to please watch over our nation; be our guide towards the real appreciation of God’s will over ours.
Kuya Pedro, our second Filipino saint, pray for us!
Weldann Panganiban, 22, is an online English instructor. He is a member of the Dominican Institute of Preaching Lay Missionaries. Online, he is the founding Moderator of Ave Maria! (Ina ng Diyos, Ina ng Pilipino) fanpage. He writes Gospel reflections through his blog, Ur Dose.