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Second Filipino saint may also be a lay missionary

MANILA (Mabuhay) : A 17th century teenager and lay person, Blessed Pedro Calungsod, seems set to become the second saint in history from The Philippines.

He was beatified in 2000 and his cause for sainthood is now waiting for a formal declaration by Pope Benedict XVI, UCA News reported on October 19.

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu said that his cause has passed the investigations made by doctors and theologians, as well as the review conducted by the cardinals.

“This means that Blessed Pedro Calungsod has already passed the third and final stage,” Archbishop Palma pointed out.

The teenager from Cebu was martyred in Guam on 2 April 1672  alongside a Spanish Jesuit, Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores.

Little is known of his background. However, it is known that he was an Ilonggo and born and raised in a Chinese district of Iloilo City. 

Many people had come to the missionaries seeking baptism, but a local Chinese person in the Landrones Islands in the western Pacific, called Choco, began spreading rumours that the baptism water was, in fact, poison.

People believe he probably spoke out of jealousy because of the missionaries’ popularity.

If the canonisation goes ahead, Blessed Calungsod will be the first Visayan saint and second Filipino  in history to become a saint, following San Lorenzo Ruiz, who was canonised in 1988.

Both men were martyred as lay missionaries. St. Lorenzo Ruiz died during a persecution in Japan on 29 September 1637.