Pedro Calungsod

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St. Pedro Calungsod (c. 1654 – April 2,1672) is a Filipino Roman Catholic martyr. He was a lay assistant to the Spanish Jesuit missionary Diego Luis de San Vitores. Both of them were killed by two Chamorro natives while propagating the Christian faith in the Marianas Islands (now Guam).

A portrait of St. Pedro Calungsod, the second Filipino to be declared a saint. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Mlb112190)

On March 5, 2000, Calungsod became the second Filipino to be beatified by Pope John Paul II, the first being St. Lorenzo Ruiz in 1981. He was canonized on October 21, 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI, making him the second Filipino Roman Catholic saint.


Calungsod was born in 1654. Four Visayan villages claim to be his hometown: Ginatilan and Tuburan in Cebu, Loboc in Bohol, and Leon in Iloilo. An oral tradition of the Calungsod family from Leon asserts that “an ancient ancestor joined the Jesuit missionaries working on an island 'near Hawaii'.”

In a Jesuit boarding school for boys, Calungsod received his basic education, mastered the Catholic catechism, and learned to communicate in Spanish and Chamorro. He also honed his skills in drawing, painting, singing, acting, and carpentry. Calungsod exhibited notable aptitude when he served the Holy Mass according to the Tridentine Rite, which was celebrated only in Latin.

Calungsod, then 14, was among the young exemplary catechists and assistants chosen to accompany the Jesuits in their mission to convert the native Chamorros in the Ladrones Islands (Islas de los Ladrones or “Islands of Thieves”), which was later named Marianas (Las Islas de Mariana). This was took place around 1667 in honor of Queen Maria Ana of Austria who supported the mission.

Pedro Calungsor

In one account, another lay assistant to Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores was identified with the name Pedro Calungsor. He was a survivor of the 1638 Nuestra Señora de la Concepción shipwreck off the coast of Saipan (the largest among the islands of Marianas) and resided on the island for thirty years, where he had a wife and a daughter, who was the first Chamorro to be baptized.

Calungsor was said to have been de San Vitores's first assistant and translator when the Jesuit first came to the islands, but Calungsor ran away. De San Vitores returned to the Philippines where he found a new assistant in the person of the young Pedro Calungsod.


On 15 June 1668, Calungsod and the Jesuit missionaries arrived in Marianas aboard a patache or supply boat named San Diego. The evangelists went on teaching Catholicism and baptizing families, but they encountered several setbacks such as the Chamorro beliefs, traditions, and way of living.

One impediment they had to deal with was the “Guma' Uritao” (men's houses), which the missionaries considered as an institutionalized prostitution. In these houses, adolescent boys were taught skills deemed necessary as they grow into men, such as canoe building, navigating, tool making, fishing, and sex, which was taught by women.

The missionaries ordered the destruction and burning of Guma' Uritaos and established the Colegio de San Juan de Letran for boys and Escuela de Niñas for girls.

The evangelistic efforts were not entirely pleasantly welcomed. A Chinese man named Choco, also shipwrecked in the Marianas two decades before the missionaries arrived, allegedly spread rumors, saying that the baptismal waters and anointing oils caused the death of the people. Choco ceded his claims and was baptized after a days-long public debate with de San Vitores. Before long, Choco apostatized from Catholicism.


The rumors remained and cost Calungsod his life. On April 2, 1672, Calungsod was with de San Vitores to perform baptisms in the village of Tomhom when a former Christian convert refused to have his infant daughter christened. The apostate was said to be the village chief Matap'ang, who enlisted the warrior Hirao to kill the Jesuit priest.

Since Calungsod was involved in the administration of the sacrament of baptism, the two natives turned against him first. Although able-bodied, Calungsod merely dodged the attacks and chose not to fight back in obedience to the Christian teachings. Instead of running away to save his life, Calungsod protected the priest and was struck on the chest by a spear. He was given absolution by de San Vitores before the Jesuit faced his own death. Their bodies were mutilated and thrown into the sea at Tomhom (now known as Tumon).


Calungsod's existence and martyrdom came to the knowledge of the Filipinos during de San Vitores' beatification in October 1985. Led by Ricardo Cardinal Vidal in 1994, the Archdiocese of Cebu commenced the formal process for the beatification of Calungsod. In 1997, the results of the initial process were approved by the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. A positio or a biography of Calungsod required by the Vatican was finished and approved in 1999.

Calungsod was venerated on January 27, 2000 and proclaimed Blessed by Pope John Paul II on April 2, 2000. The date was also declared by the pontiff as “Pedro Calungsod's Day."


Calungsod was canonized on October 21, 2012, making him the second Filipino Roman Catholic saint. Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Secretary General Fr. Marvin Mejia recently announced that Calungsod may be named as the patron saint either of the Filipino youth or overseas Filipino workers.

A beatified person can be proclaimed a saint only after miracles attributed to him/her have been proven. In Calungsod's case, several people have sought his intercession and have attested to the miracles that he had manifested.

One instance was that of a young man whose bone cancer in the leg was said to have disappeared after he sought the intercession of Calungsod, on the advice of his parish priest and spiritual director.

A kidnap victim who appealed for his mediation was saved from being killed and was released by his captor when it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.

Another miracle involves the daughter of an inebriated widower, who could not land himself a job. The daughter prayed for Calungsod's intervention. After doing so, the widower started to limit his drinking and eventually found a good job and a new wife.


On April 3. 2004, Cardinal Vidal declared Saint Pedro Calungsod as a model and patron of the youth in the Archdiocese of Cebu.

The first annual feast in honor of Calungsod was celebrated in April 2008 in Naga City, with programs and activities prepared by several parish-based youth groups.

In 2009, the 2nd Tinubdan Festival was celebrated to honor Calungsod's beatification and the 3rd anniversary of the establishment of the Pedro Calungsod Parish in Cantabaco, Toledo City in Cebu. The name “Tinubdan” was derived from the presence of several tubod (spring) that provides Cantabaco residents with free water.

Outstanding catechists in the Archdiocese of Cebu are also given an award named after Calungsod.


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