Play celebrates life and Christian example of San Pedro Calungsod
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Francis O. Villacorta’s historical drama “San Pedro Calungsod, Batang Santo” tells the story of the young Visayan-Filipino from the 17th century who was canonized on Oct. 21, 2012, at St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, and became the second Filipino saint in history.
The touring production is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for Calungsod’s virtues and martyrdom among the young. Villacorta is convinced there is so much to learn from the story of the young soldier of Jesus Christ. “In telling his story, I seek to challenge the young generation today to find meaning in their own lives and define the essence of their own existence through the example of San Pedro Calungsod’s short yet fruitful Christian life. For in the end, our lives will be defined by what we do for the rest of humanity or, simply, for another person’s life.”
On April 2, 1672, Calungsod, a migrant missionary catechist, gave up his life after suffering four years of religious persecution inflicted by the Chamorro natives on the Spanish Jesuit missionaries and the workers of the San Diego Mission to the Marianas (now Guam).
Calungsod was the Visayan-Filipino companion of Jesuit missionary Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores. Together, they traversed the islands of the Marianas preaching the Christian faith, baptizing children and adult natives.
Known to the Spaniards as Pedro Calungsor and to his superior Father Diego as “Indio Bisaya,” Calungsod was educated in a Jesuit boarding school for boys headed by Fr. Pedro Chirino. At a very young age, he learned Spanish and Latin, the visual arts and carpentry.
Under the Jesuits, he was trained in service of the Holy Mass and the teaching of Catholic catechism. He helped the Catholic church perform its functions in the Visayan communities. He joined the San Diego Mission led by superior Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores to Guam, then known as Islas de las Ladrones.
A month after the killing of Father San Vitores and Pedro Calungsod, the process of beatification was initiated for the mission superior. The process, however, was overtaken by many political and religious conflicts that followed.
In 1981, when preparations for the 20th anniversary of Hagatna (Guam) as a diocese were being done, the 1673 cause for the beatification of Father Diego was uncovered from the archives. This revived the process which resulted in San Vitores’ beatification on Oct. 6, 1985, and also paved the way for the recognition of Pedro Calungsod, who was later beatified himself, and eventually canonized on March 5, 2000, at St. Peter’s Square in Rome.
The play “San Pedro Calungsod, Batang Santo” stars BJ “Tolits” Forbes, Jojo Riguerra, Robert Correa, Abel Napuran, Juan Miguel Severo, Francis Cruz, Jamieson Tracy Lee, Richard Manabat, Perry Escano, James Lomahan, Joey de Guzman, Ronald Regala, Jack Falcis, Leo Priscilla, Bobby Tamayo and Emlyn Olfindo Santos. For inquiries, call 0917-4682045, 3841009 or 5248454.