Beato Pedro Calungsod
Sacristan, Missionary, Catechist, and Martyr
Bornc. 1655
DiedApril 2, 1672 (aged 17-18)[1]
Tumon, Guam Guam
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Beatified5 March 2000, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican CityVatican City by Blessed Pope John Paul II
Major shrineArchdiocesan Shrine of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, Archbishop's residence compound, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
Feast2 April[2]
AttributesPalm (plant), spear, bolo, Catechism book, Rosary, Christogram, Crucifix
PatronageFilipino youth, Catechumens, altar boys, the Philippines, Overseas Filipino Workers, Guam, Cebuanos.

Blessed Pedro Calungsod (c. 1654[1] – April 2, 1672) was a young Roman Catholic Filipino migrant, sacristan and missionary catechist, who along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered religious persecution and martyrdom on Guam for their missionary work in 1672. Through Calungsod and San Vitores' missionary efforts, many native Chamorros converted to Roman Catholicism. Calungsod was beatified on 5 March 2000 by Blessed Pope John Paul II. On 18 February 2012, Pope Benedict XVI officially announced at Saint Peter's Basilica that Calungsod will be canonised on 21 October 2012[3].

Early years and Missionary work

Cover of the Doctrina Cristiana, an early 17th century Filipino book on Catechism.
Mariana of Austria, Queen of Spain, the benefactress of Calungsod and San Vitores to sail for Ladrones Islands.

Calungsod (spelled Calonsor in Spanish records) was born ca. 1654. Historical records never mentioned his exact place of origin and merely identified him as "Bisaya." Four Visayan villages claim to be his hometown: Ginatilan and Tuburan in Cebu; Loboc in Bohol; and Leon in Iloilo. Oral tradition of the Calungsod family from Leon asserts that “an ancient ancestor joined Jesuit missionaries working on an island near Hawaii.” Nevertheless, the entire Visayas region was under then Diocese (now Archdiocese) of the Most Holy Name (Cebu).

Few details of his early life prior to missionary work and death are known. It is probable that he came to one of the boarding schools run by Jesuits and received his basic education there, mastering the Catechism and learning to communicate in Spanish. It is also safe to assume that he also honed his skills in drawing, painting, singing, acting, and carpentry as the nature of their mission demanded such skills. Calungsod would have been expected to have some aptitude in serving the Holy Mass according to the Tridentine Rite.

Calungsod, then around 14, was among the young exemplary catechists chosen to accompany the Jesuits in their mission to the Ladrones Islands (Islas de los Ladrones or “Islands of Thieves”). Around 1667, these were later named Marianas (Las Islas de Mariana) in honour of Queen Maria Ana of Austria who supported the mission.

In 1668, Calungsod travelled with Spanish Jesuit missionaries to the Marianas Islands, named in honour of both the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the Queen Regent of Spain, María Ana of Austria, who funded their voyage. Calungsod and San Vitores went to Guam to catechise the native Chamorros.[4]

Missionary life was hard. The provisions for the Mission did not arrive regularly; the jungles were too thick to cross; the cliffs were very stiff to climb, and the islands were frequently visited by devastating typhoons. Despite all these, the missionaries persevered, and the Mission was blessed with many conversions.[5]

Martyrdom and Death

A Chinese merchant named Choco began spreading rumours that the baptismal water used by missionaries was poisonous. As some sickly Chamorro infants who were baptised eventually died, many believed the story and held the missionaries responsible. Choco was readily supported by the macanjas (medicine men) and the urritaos (young males) who despised the missionaries.

Calungsod and San Vitores came to the village of Tumon, Guam on 2 April 1672 in their search for a runaway companion named Esteban. There they learned that the wife of the village chief Mata'pang gave birth to a daughter, and they immediately went to baptize the child. The chief, influenced by the calumnies of Choco, strongly refused[6] To give Mata'pang 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 away and tried to enlist in his cause another villager, named Hirao, who was not a Christian. At first, Hirao refused, mindful of the kindness of the missionaries towards the natives; but when Matapang branded him a coward, he got piqued and so he consented. Meanwhile, during that brief absence of Matapang from his hut, Padre Diego and Pedro took the chance of baptizing the infant, with the consent of the Christian mother.

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. The 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 knew Pedro personally believed that he would have defeated his fierce aggressors and would have freed both himself and Padre Diego if only he had some weapons because he was a very valiant boy; but Padre Diego never allowed his companions to carry arms. 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 gave Pedro the 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. Then, both assassins denuded the bodies of Pedro and Padre Diego, dragged them to the edge of the shore, tied large stones to the feet of these, brought them on a proa to sea and threw them into the deep. Those remains of the martyrs were never to be found again.[7]

In the Roman Catholic Church, Calungsod's death and Christian martyrdom is also called In Odium Fidei or In Hatred of the Faith, signifying the religious persecution endured by the martyr in evangelising.[8][9]


A year fter the martyrdom of San Vitores and Calungsod, a process for beatification was initiated but only for San Vitores. Political and religious turmoil, however, delayed and eventually killed the process. In 1981, when Agaña was preparing for its 20th anniversary as a diocese, the 1673 beatification cause of Padre Diego Luís de San Vitores was rediscovered in the old manuscripts and taken up anew until Padre Diego was finally beatified on October 6, 1985. It was his beatification that brought the memory of Pedro to our day.

In 1994, then Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal asked permission from the Vatican to initiate a cause for beatification and canonization of Pedro Calungsod. In March 1997, the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the Acta of the Diocesan Process for the Beatification of Pedro Calungsod. That same year, Cardinal Vidal appointed Fr. Ildebrando Jesus A. Leyson as vice-postulator for the cause and was tasked with the compilation of a Positio Super Martyrio to be scrutinized by the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. The positio, which relied heavily on the documentation of San Vitores's beatification, was completed in 1999.

Blessed John Paul II paid special attention the cause of Calungsod, wanting to include an young Asian layperson in his first beatification for the Jubilee Year 2000. In January 2000, he approved the decree super martyrio (concerning the martyrdom) of Calungsod, setting his beatification on March 5, 2000 at Saint Peter's Square in Rome.

Banner by Filipino artist Rafael del Casal depicting Calungsod during the beatification rites in Vatican City, 2000.

Regarding Calungsod's charitable works and virtuous deeds, Pope John Paul II declared:

...From his childhood, Pedro Calungsod declared himself unwaveringly for Christ and responded generously to his call. Young people today can draw encouragement and strength from the example of Pedro, whose love of Jesus inspired him to devote his teenage years to teaching the faith as a lay catechist. Leaving family and friends behind, Pedro willingly accepted the challenge put to him by Fr. Diego de San Vitores to join him on the Mission to the Chamorros. In a spirit of faith, marked by strong Eucharistic and Marian devotion, Pedro undertook the demanding work asked of him and bravely faced the many obstacles and difficulties he met. In the face of imminent danger, Pedro would not forsake Fr. Diego, but as a "good soldier of Christ" preferred to die at the missionary's side.



On 19 December 2011, the Holy See officially approved the miracle qualifying Calungsod for sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church.[11] The recognised miracle dates from 2002, when a Leyte woman who was pronounced clinically dead by accredited physicians two hours after a heart attack was allegedly brought back to life when a doctor prayed for Calungsod's intercession.[12][13][14]

Cardinal Angelo Amato presided over the declaration ceremony on behalf of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He later revealed that Pope Benedict XVI approved and signed the official promulgation decrees recognising the miracles as authentic and worthy of belief. While the miracle for Calungsod's sainthood has been signed by Pope Benedict XVI and approved by the Holy See, Filipino Catholics are waiting for the Pope to recite the official Latin formula, which will declare Calungsod a saint.[15][16] It is necessary for the Pope to recite the Latin formula of canonisation after a formal consistory is completed with the cardinals present in Rome.[17]

After Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, Calungsod will be the second Filipino declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic calendar of Martyrology celebrates Calungsod's feast along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores every 2 April.[18]


Calungsod is often depicted as a young man in the Filipino national costume known as Barong Tagalog. He holds the martyr's palm, indicating his death, or sometimes a crucifix, catechism book or rosary, representing his missionary work. In some early statues, Calungsod is sometimes shown with a spear and bolo knife, the instruments of his death.

Filipino artist Rafael del Casal made the first oil painting of Calungsod which became the basis of the beatification banner in Rome (see above). Since it is not known exactly what Calungsod looked like, the Archdiocese of Cebú selected former basketball player UE Red Warriors Ronald Tubid to model for the portrait from over 100 candidates. Tubid received the camaraderie moniker The Saint among his playmates in the Philippine Basketball Association.[19] Del Casal used photographs of Tubid, who like Calungsod coincidentally comes from the Visayas. This portrayal of Calungsod also contains a Christogram, the seal of the Society of Jesus with which he was affiliated.


See also


  1. ^ a b Blessed Pedro Calungsod By Emy Loriega / The Pacific Voice
  2. ^
  3. ^ EWTN Televised Broadcast: Public Consistory for the Creation of New Cardinals. Rome, February 18, 2012. Saint Peter's Basilica. Closing remarks before recession preceded by Cardinal Agostino Vallini.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Interea, illa infans puellula, christiana eius matre consentiente, sacramentali baptismatis lavacro est abluta. Translation: In the mean time, that an infant girl, Christian with the consent of his mother, cleansed by the washing of sacramental baptism.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Pietro Calungsod, catechista, che per odio verso la fede cristiana furono uccisi e gettati in mare da alcuni apostati e seguaci locali di superstizioni pagane. Translation: Peter Calungsod, catechist, that hatred of the Christian faith were killed and thrown overboard by some apostates and followers of local pagan superstitions.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Beatification of 44 Servants of God, Homily of Pope John Paul II, No. 5. Vatican, March 5, 2000. Link retrieved on March 23, 2010.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Mártir adolescente será segundo santo filipino tras aprobación de milagro, Mártir adolescente será segundo santo filipino tras aprobación de milagro
  16. ^ Native North American woman on road to sainthood, Native North American woman on road to sainthood.
  17. ^
  18. ^ 2 Aprile, BB. Diego Luigi de San Vitores e Pietro Calungsod.
  19. ^ Carpio, Gerry; Sandy Araneta (7 March 2000). "Blessed Pedro's bewildered sub". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 28 December 2011.