Manila (AsiaNews) - On the occasion of the 28th World Youth Day, to be held this year in Rio de Janeiro, 38 pilgrims will depart from the Philippines to tell the world the story of St. Pedro Calungsod, the 18 year-old missionary martyr beatified by John Paul II in 2000 and canonized by Benedict XVI in 2012.
The initiative, sponsored by Marlito Cabigas, head of the Cebu Youth Commission, has been made possible thanks to support from local archdiocese. Cabigas, also manager of the Facebook page "Barkada ni Pedro", launched on the Web to spread the news of his canonization, explains that "the aim is to inform young people and share with them, the works and teaching of young saint. " In preparation for the event, which will start on July 23 in Brazil, the local parish has organized a series of weekly meetings in which the pilgrims will receive Portuguese lessons and have the opportunity to reflect together on the life of St. Peter Calungsod.
Pedro Calungsod was born from a Filipino family in Cebu, in 1654. From childhood he regularly attended the local Catholic mission, and soon filled the role of young catechist. He joined the Spanish Jesuit Diego Luiz de San Vitores and decided to follow him on a mission on the island of Guam, where together they facilitated numerous conversions.
According to tradition, the success enjoyed by the two missionaries on the island aroused the hatred and hostility of the local shamans. Following an epidemic that struck the child population of the tribes, Pedro Calungsod and Fr. San Vitores were accused of baptizing the infants with poisoned water, were murdered and thrown into the sea in 1672.