Sunday, October 21, 2012

127. Visualizing Sanctity: SAN PEDRO CALUNGSOD by Thom Joven

The country is thrilled to see the courageous teen "beato" raised to the rank of a saint--San Pedro Calungsod--only the second Filipino saint after San Lorenzo Ruiz. San Pedro Calungsod (b.1654 – d. 2 April 1672) was  a young sacristan who worked alongside San Diego Luis de San Vitores and who was martyred  in Guam for preaching Christianity to the Chamorros through catechism.

Beatified on 5 March 2000 by Blessed Pope John Paul II, Calungsod was  canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on 21 October 2012 together with 6 others: Jacques Berthieu, a Jesuit martyr-priest ,Giovanni Battista Piamarta, founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth, Maria Carmen Sallés, founder of the Conceptionists Missionary Sisters of Education; Marianne Cope, a religious who worked among lepers, Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American Saint and Anna Shaffer from Germany.
San Pedro Calungsod's most well-known representation is based on a portrait modelled by then 17 year old Ronald Tubid, a basketball player from Iloilo. This same portrait became the basis for artist Rafael del Casal's artwork done in 1999 that was used as the official picture for the canonization rites in Rome. Del Casal's portrait is the first to feature a Christogram, the seal of the Society of Jesus with which San Pedro was associated. Sculptors Francisco dela Victoria and Vicente Gulane (Cebu), Felix Baldemor and Justino Cagayat Jr. ( Paete, Laguna), also created statues of Calungsod in 1997,1999 and 2012, respectively. Most images show the saint wearing a white camisa and trousers, with his characteristic palm, a rosary,a crucifix or a Doctrina Christiana book pressed to his breast.
Pampanga's most accomplished ecclesiatical artist, Thom Joven of Bacolor has also been commissioned by Bishop Angel Lagdameo of Iloilo to execute his santo version of the teen martyr, following his approved iconography. Made by a local carver under his stringent supervision and personally painted using traditional encarnacion technique, San Pedro Calungsod stands all of four feet and bears a strikingly young, lifelike and saintly mien. He pensively looks at an open book of Christian doctrine, with another hand holding a palm branch in brass--his official attributes.

It is impeccable in its simplicity, and appropriately so, for the saint lived a life of austerity and hardship while catechizing in the Marianas. Just like San Lorenzo Ruiz, he is similarly attired in a camisa chino-daily wear for most Filipinos-and a pair of loose, hanging pants. Carved in the round, he is shown unshod, unlike other representations where the saint wears sandals.
Thom Joven is well-known in the santo circle as a leading figure in saving and restoring the altars, niches and wooden saints of San Guillermo Church in Bacolor, heavily damaged by the Pinatubo aftermath. He has likewise worked on the San Vicente de Zaragoza Church, also in his hometown. His prized works and restorations are in private collections and have even reached the Vatican--an image of of Nuestra Sra. de Guia, was chosen by then Pres. GMA and given to  Pope Benedict XVI as a "Gift from the Filipino People". His interpretation of the likeness of San Pedro Calungsod is indeed, a most apt artistic tribute to one who now belongs to the pantheon of saints of the Catholic Church.
FEAST DAY: Celebrated every 2nd day of April, the anniversary of his martyrdom. If the date falls within Holy Week or Easter Week, the feast is observed on the Saturday that immediately precedes Passion/Palm Sunday. If April 2 falls on a Sunday of Lent or on a Sunday of Easter, the feast is celebrated on April 1.

Blessed Pedro Calungsod, young migrant, student, catechist, missionary, faithful, friend, and martyr, you inspire us by your fidelity in time of trial and adversity, by your courage in teaching the Faith in the midst of hostility and by your love in shedding your life’s blood for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus. 

We beg you, make our cares and troubles your own [here mention the special intention you are asking him to bring to the Lord] and intercede for us before the throne of Mercy and Grace, so that as we experience the help of Heaven, we may be encouraged and strengthened to proclaim and live the Gospel here on earth. AMEN. 

 (Imprimatur: Ricardo Cardinal J. Vidal) 


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