The Feast Day of San Pedro Calungsod took place April 14 at Our Lady Help of Christians, Midwood. Sponsored by the diocesan Ministry to Filipino Immigrants, about 100 people gathered with Auxiliary Bishop Paul Sanchez who celebrated the Mass in both English and Tagalog.
San Pedro Calungsod was only 14 years old when he left his home in the Philippines, in 1668, to go with Blessed San Vitores to evangelize in Guam. He preached Christianity to the Chamorro people, while baptizing children and adults at the risk of being persecuted and eventually murdered in 1672.
Through St. Calungsod and San Vitores’ missionary works, many native Chamorro people converted. Both men are remembered today as martyrs.
St. Calungsod was beatified on March 5, 2000, by Pope John Paul II. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter’s Basilica on Oct. 21, 2012.
“San Pedro is famous for having lived a short life yet most of it devoted to God’s work,” said Bishop Sanchez.
“Through his work many people were able to be baptized and brought into the light of Jesus. He was a true witness of faith and had the strength to follow the path, which eventually led to the end of his life. He is remembered as a martyr and a great saint that gives inspiration to us all and especially the Filipino community.
“We pray that God raises up and gives strength to all men and women to inspire us to do God’s will and always be witness.”
Father Patrick Longalong, coordinator of the diocesan Filipino ministry, says he recognizes how much love the Filipino community has and wants it to be shared.
“Being here to celebrate this feast day is very important especially being a migrant community. This is our job here not just to pray but also to remind people we are made in the image and likeness of God,” said Father Longalong, who is the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes parish, Queens Village.
“Our job is to make sure our fellow Filipino migrants are treated the right way. The Filipino community is very loving and compassionate. We walk the extra mile to help and show our love.”
Father Joseph Hugo, who is stationed at Our Lady Help of Christians, tries to carry on the work of the missionaries that came before him.
“San Pedro Calungsod is remembered as a martyr and for his brave work. He is a great inspiration to the Filipino community,” he said.
“We spread the Good News through showing our love and sharing our culture both in the Philippines and here in the States as well.
“We are giving thanks and paying back to the missionaries that came to our homeland and shared the Good News with us. Now we must continue that work.”