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Filipinos wave Philippine flags and flags with the image of Pedro Calungsod during a celebration of his canonisation at a gymnasium in San Juan City, east of Manila, yesterday.
MANILA: Seventy-six year old Norma Reyes could not hold back her tears when Pope Benedict XVI announced yesterday the name of Pedro Calungsod as one of seven new saints.
“I am proud to be a Filipino because we have a new saint,” Reyes said. She was among the thousands of Catholics who trooped to The Arena in San Juan City yesterday to watch the live telecast of Calungsod’s canonisation.
Among the personalities who attended yesterday’s gathering in San Juan were former Manila mayor Lito Atienza, former ambassador to the Vatican Henrietta de Villa, and presidential sister Viel Aquino-Dee.
Youth delegates from the Sanctuario de Sto Cristo Parish in San Juan also cheered when Pope Benedict XVI called Calungsod’s name, waving their Philippine flaglets and a mini-flag bearing the face of the new saint.
Souvenirs like t-shirts printed with Calungsod’s face and mini statues were sold in front of The Arena.
The Pope presided over the canonisation of Calungsod and six others at the Vatican yesterday afternoon.
Calungsod is the second Filipino saint after Saint Lorenzo Ruiz.
President Aquino declared yesterday as the “National Day of Celebration” to honour Calungsod.
“The President has signed Proclamation 481 declaring Sunday, October 21, 2012, as a National Day of Celebration on the occasion of the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
Malacanang said October 21 is a “day of great spiritual joy and national pride” for all Filipinos, as it joined over the weekend the whole Catholic faith in celebrating the proclamation of the young Visayan missionary as the second Filipino saint.
“We join the Catholic world on this day of solemn commemoration and celebration,” Valte said.
Aside from San Juan, masses were also held in Tondo, Makati, Novaliches, and Cebu hours before Calungsod’s canonisation.
In his homily, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez said the canonisation of Calungsod shows that Filipinos are capable of laying down their life for their faith and God as exemplified by the new saint.
“Pedro Calungsod is not just the country’s hero of faith but of the whole world,” Cortez said.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr yesterday led lawmakers in hailing the canonization of Calungsod.
Belmonte said the new saint made Filipinos proud and would inspire them to do more good. “I’m very proud to be a Filipino,” Belmonte said. “It (canonisation) is a testimony to our capacity for faith, character, loyalty and sense of self-sacrifice for a righteous cause.”
Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo Angara said St Pedro Calungsod serves as a good role model for the youth because of his self-sacrifice and his devotion to his faith.
“Our churches and seminaries are full, evident of a deep and practicing faith that is young, dynamic and so much alive in collective prayers and hopes. I pray for more Filipino saints and blessed,” Ang Kasangga party-list Representative Teodorico Haresco said.
Zambales Representative Milagros Magsaysay said Filipinos “should all be proud of him, that someone who was selfless and had other people’s interest at heart could one day be a saint, he is a very good example for all of us.”
Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone said the canonization of Calungsod should serve as “a guiding light to us public servants as we carry out our tasks in serving our people.”
The Philippine Star