Updated: Mar 27, 2022
San Pedro Calungsod was a Visayan youth, then around 14, was among the exemplary young catechists chosen to accompany the Jesuits in their missions to the Ladrones Islands (Islas de Los Ladrones or “Isles of Thieves”). In 1668, Calungsod travelled with Spanish Jesuit missionaries to the islands, renamed the Marianas Islands (Las Islas de Mariana). María Ana of Austria funded their voyage. Calungsod and San Vitores went to Guam to catechise the native Chamorros.
Missionary life was difficult as provisions did not arrive regularly. The terrains were difficult to traverse and the islands were frequently devastated by typhoons. Despite all of these, the mission persevered and was able to convert a significant number of locals.
A Chinese merchant named Choco began spreading rumours that the baptismal water used by missionaries was poisonous. Coincidentally, 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.
In their search for a runaway companion named Esteban, Calungsod and San Vitores arrived at the village of Tumon, Guam on the 2nd of April 1672. There they learnt that the wife of the village chief Mata’pang gave birth to a daughter. They immediately went to baptise the child. Influenced by the calumnies of Choco, the chief strongly opposed it. To give Mata’pang some time to calm down, the missionaries gathered the children and adults of the village at the nearby shore and started chanting with them the tenets of the Catholic religion. They invited Mata’pang to join them, but he shouted back that he was angry with God and was fed up with Christian teachings.
Determined to kill the missionaries, Mata’pang went away and tried to enlist another villager named Hirao, who was not a Christian. Hirao initially refused since he was mindful of the missionaries’ kindness towards the natives. But when Mata’pang branded him as a coward, he became piqued and capitulated. During that brief absence of Mata’pang from his hut, San Vitores and Calungsod baptised the baby girl, with the consent of her Christian mother. When Mata’pang learnt of his daughter’s baptism, he became even more furious. He violently hurled spears first at Calungsod, who was able to dodge the spears. Witnesses claim that Calungsod could have escaped the attack, but did not want to leave San Vitores alone. Those who knew Calungsod personally believed that he could have defeated the aggressors with weapons. San Vitores have banned his companions to carry arms. Calungsod was hit in the chest by a spear and he fell to the ground. Hirao immediately charged towards Calungsod and finished him off with a machete blow to the head. Both assassins then denuded the corpses of Calungsod and San Vitores, tied large stones to their feet, brought them out to sea and threw them into the water.
We celebrate Calungsod’s feast along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores every 2 April. Whenever this day falls within Holy Week or Easter Week (during which no feast of saints may be observed), Calungsod’s feast is celebrated on the Saturday before Passion or Palm Sunday.
We would like to invite everyone to join us in commemorating the life of San Pedro Calungsod, from the 24th of March to the 2nd of April 2022 by joining us in the online novena masses. For more info about the Novena Masses, below are some relevant links to keep you posted.
ACFC Chaplaincy YouTube Channel (Online Livesteaming of the Masses) -
1st Day Novena - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgOLw-xm_HE
2nd Day Novena - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HST4GejwFl4
3rd Day Novena - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEuCD_nKiOc
4th Day Novena - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DW41DTNXIkI
5th Day Novena - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0KAlBts_To
6th Day Novena - https://youtu.be/O350p-XHUMU
7th Day Novena - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6kBo8mq4_Y
8th Day Novena - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSZlKJlaR1c
9th Day Novena - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRFA0-laq4o
Feast Day - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uv2Ch4uaIf4
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