October 21 was a momentous day in the life of the Catholic Church in the Philippines as Pope Benedict XVI canonized Blessed Pedro Calungsod as the country’s second saint at St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City. Beyond the Vatican, various celebrations were held in the Philippines to mark the event.
The National Commission for Blessed Pedro Calungsod organized one such event – “San Pedro 10.21”, at the San Juan Arena. A video wall was put up so that the audience can also witness the canonization event via live feed. CFC FFL was given the privilege to serve as part of the Production Team, in partnership with GMA News TV.
As people started coming in to the venue at twelve noon, our community’s very own Gift Band, led by Bro. Jun Eguico, played a series of worship songs. This was followed by the praying of the Holy Rosary and the celebration of the Holy Mass which was presided by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media.
Some of the key messages of Bishop Cortez:
“Kadalasan ang mundo ay titingin sa ating bansa ang nakikita ay kadiliman, iskandalo, nakawan, patayan, sakuna. Ngayon, ang buong mundo ay titingin sa ating bansa at makikita nila na ang bansang Pilipinas ay may magandang liwanag, may magandang katotohanan, may magandang kabutihan.” (What the world usually sees from this country are darkness, controversies, corruption, bloodshed, and adversity. Today, the world will see light, truth, and righteousness from this country.)
“Kaya ng Pilipino maging matapat. Kaya ng Pilipino maging dalisay, makatotohanan at mag-alay ng buhay para sa kabutihaan, para sa pananampalataya, para sa Diyos.” (The Filipinos can be honest. Filipinos can be pure, forthright, and willing to sacrifice his life for goodness, for his faith, and for God.)
GMA News anchorman, Mike Enriquez, hosted the program after the Mass while the audience waited for the live feed from St. Peter’s Square. Some of the performers included the Jesuit Choir, GMA talents Nomer Limatog Jr. and Frencheska Farr. Inspirational diva Jaime Rivera sang “Kuya Pedro Calungsod,” a song composed for the canonization. 29 AD staged a musical reenacting Calungsod’s martyrdom.
Live from the GMA Network Center, Pampanga Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio David Fr. Francis Lucas, Executive Secretary of CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Social Communication and Mass Media, also gave commentaries on the canonization rites that were happening at the Vatican.
Among the personalities that attended the gathering were former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, presidential sister Viel Aquino-Dee and former ambassador to the Vatican Henrietta de Villa, who incidentally was celebrating her birthday yesterday.
Teny Mardo, CFC SFL fulltime worker, led the trivia game about the newly-canonized saint, and the audience, who mostly consisted of the youth, eagerly participated in this fun segment. As the event came to a close, everybody went home with free Jollibee hamburgers and the precious memory of being part of this historical event in the life of our nation in this grace-filled Year of Faith.
St. Pedro Calungsod, pray for us, that as a community, we may imitate you – a model for the youth, for the lay people and for missionaries.