by Aime, SX
From an Indio to a helper, from a helper to a catechist and altar boy; from altar boy and catechist to a missionary to the “Island of Thieves”, as Magellan mistakenly named what is now known as Guam; from a missionary to a martyr, from a martyr to “silence”, from “silence” to sainthood. This is how I would summarize the life of Pedro Calungsod, our second Filipino Saint. He was canonized together with other six Christian witnesses from other nations, on the world mission Sunday, last October 21, 2012 in Saint Peter’s Square.
In the euphoria of his canonization, thousands of lines have been written, and countless words have been used to tell his story and to describe the devotion that has grown considerably towards this teenager missionary martyr. Many have highlighted his courageous martyrdom and his missionary thrust, pride of all of us Philippines’ people.
To add to the feast, I think that what is amazing in this seemingly historical line of his life, as sketched above, is the silence that carried our second Filipino Saint and martyr along his journey, a silence from which he emerges and distinguishes himself.
He was martyred together with Fr. Diego Luigi De San Victores, founder and superior of the mission of Marianas, in the silence of the early morning of Saturday, April 02, 1672. His name was only referred to en passant in biography of the Jesuits for the beatification of Fr. Diego. This companion of his in the martyrdom was beatified on October 06, 1985, and Pedro Calungsod waited in the silence until March 05, 2000 to be beatified.
As one columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a local news paper put it, on the very day of his canonization, Pedro Calungsod, “like many catechists and helpers of missionaries, he was the silent and humble minister who did his duty faithfully and had no historians to tell his deed for future generations”[PDI. 11/21/ 2012. D4].
As he was thrown into the sea with a stone sinker attached to his lifeless body [also Fr. Diego], only the silence of the deep sea can tell us what happened to his body. And, for those who look for relics, only the silence of Saint Pedro Calungsod will they find. Even historians who have been trying to track down with precisions the place or the village of his birth have been confronted by the silence surrounding this martyr.
Beautiful, the silence, his silence. It is from this silence, the silent witness and silent ministering to Jesus, that Saint Pedro Calungsod has emerged, elevated by God himself. Some say that he is a model for the youth today, others are even suggesting to make him the Patron saint of all the youth in the Philippines, our top model, as he was martyred at the age of eighteen. And I, do believe that he is a model for all of us, young and old, and the Patron Saint of those silent martyrs of everyday who serve God faithfully and without making the headlines of the newspapers; those who serve humbly in the Church, and also those who serve the lowly without counting, only moved by the Love of Christ. Imagine how beautiful the World will be if this Top Model of ours will get more fans, billions of people imitating him. That world will be on fire, the fire of Love and of humble and faithful service.