This year’s All Saints Day is made special by the recent canonization of our second Filipino saint, St. Pedro Calungsod. It is God’s gift to His beloved Philippines that a young Filipino missionary is now in the company of saints.
In today’s world, one could say fewer of the young generation see meaning in being a missionary, or even having a heart of one. Although, being a missionary in this age, like many other things, is no longer trapped to its traditional meaning. To be a missionary in present times can be done in so many unexpected and creative ways—here we have missionary writers, artists, among others—but of course, there are still those who go on mission trips to share the Good News, just like St. Pedro Calungsod.
A 17 year old native of Cebu, St. Pedro Calungsod was a Roman Catholic martyr who was killed during missionary work in Guam in 1672. Both a Sacristan and Catechism teacher, he was the companion of Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores to the Marianas Islands.
Many have heard of this story already, but because of the Pedro Calungsod’s recent canonization, his story came to life once more, inspiring and even challenging many of the young people today to be like him.
“Personally, I think the story of St. Pedro Calungsod really gives the youth faith in themselves. It helped established their self-confidence that they can do “saint-like” deeds and not necessarily have to be a perfect person. It really shows that anyone can become a saint and that these people that become saints are not necessarily perfect, but rather have a profound want to serve God in any means possible.” – Ian Blanco, 17, High School Student
“Everything and everyone in this world came from God. But whether we admit it or not, the very things He gave us become the reasons that we can’t focus on Him who deserves our attention; people, especially the youth, always end up broken because they commit to the wrong things. St. Pedro Calungsod inspires us to live a life dedicated to God and to stand up for our faith in God who unconditionally loves us.” – Christine Magpayo, 18, College Student
“He showed me how to be a true catholic, to be true to my faith and fight for it no matter what.” – Jolo Ramos, 19, College Student
“St Pedro Calungsod is one of the youngest martyrs I’ve known. At the age of 14 he started preaching with the Jesuits in Guam and it struck me because he was able to respond to God’s mission with full dedication trust and willingness. He left his family and loved ones behind for the sake of the call and even gave up his own life for it.
His passion for service was shown in his 3 years stay in Guam and I believe carrying on the mission of what God wants us to do is never easy but he Pedro was able to withstand all the battles he had face, be it emotional, spiritual, mental or any other battle, because he rooted his faith and trust in God alone. This is a challenge for our generation and the generations to come– to find that Pedro in us. Remember nobody is too young to inspire, touch and make a difference in this world because if you know who or where to hold on to, you will not worry. With prayer everything is answered and with God everything is possible.” – Camille Arguelles, 17, College Student
“St. Pedro inspires me to be steadfast in my faith no matter the circumstances are. He inspires me that young as I am, God has a plan full of greatness for me. It doesn’t matter who criticize me or if I make mistakes for I know that I will overcome these with God’s grace. Youth is not a hindrance to being a living example of how great God is in your life and the life of others.” – Chris Deatras, 19, College Student
“Kuya Pedro is my new idol. At a very young age, he had this firm conviction that everyone should remain true to their faith and beliefs. Who would’ve sacrificed himself at a young age to protect Christianity? This is what makes Kuya Pedro a new generation idol for me; he is brave, he fought for his beliefs, but most of all he is faithful. I praise the Lord now that he is a saint. His life will be an inspiration to us the youth today, that despite our age, we can make a change and fight for what is right.” – Andrea Leal, 17, College Student
It is definitely difficult to be a missionary, one must admit, especially for someone so young who is still getting to know about the world. Still, the quote our national hero holds true, that the hope of the nation is the young generation.
St. Pedro Calungsod now stands not only as a beacon of inspiration for the youth in the Philippines, but also around the world. God has graced him to inspire and move the youth to go beyond borders to be God’s instrument of love and good news—to have a heart for mission, no matter what form, even at a very young age.
– Article by Jasmin Afuang