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KateI am Pedro - Canonization of St Pedro Calungsod, 2nd Filipino Saint
Posted by Kate Deiparine on 10/20/2012 9:11:13 AM



I Am Pedro!



If you drive along EDSA, the major thoroughfare in Metro Manila, I’m sure you notice the humongous countless billboards that assault our senses on a daily basis. I’m sure you notice too that almost all of these billboards bear the familiar faces of famous personalities that also daily assault our senses through TV, movies and print.


One time as I was driving, I was intrigued by this billboard that showed a very unfamiliar face adorned with a very familiar pair of eyeglasses. The ad showed an anonymous face wearing the famous Ninoy Aquino eyeglasses. At the bottom of the ad it says, “I am Ninoy.” The message is clear. It means every anonymous citizen can make a difference. Every anonymous, common man or woman is called to make a difference. I smiled when I saw that ad. It offered a very refreshing proposal, an alternative ambition in the midst of our celebrity-worshipping culture.


In stark contrast to that inspiring and patriotic message is a current billboard showing a group of good looking Filipino young men and women (who look nothing like Filipino as they were all carefully chosen Caucasian looking teens) vying for the title of “honor student” in what is called The Artista Academy. The vision-mission of the academy is clear and unpretentious: to instill in the “students” the dream for the “glamorous artista life” espoused by the Academy’s triple core value of “Fame, Fortune and Stardom.”


I once read that a dream is not something you see in your sleep; it is that which does not allow you to sleep. I wonder how any young men and women passing by EDSA lose sleep dreaming of Fame, Fortune and Stardom?


Fame, fortune and stardom are not wrong in themselves, but sought as an end itself, they have a way of destroying the dreamer, of consuming the one who dreams. In Hollywood for example, there is famous bed in the area of the Walk of fame where every tourist gets his picture taken. That bed is famous for the words written below: “The Road to Hollywood – How some of us got here.”  It is a satirical ode to those who slept their way to fame, fortune and stardom, in Hollywood or elsewhere.


Look at the brothers James and John in today’s Gospel. Boldly, they asked Jesus that they sit, one at his left and one at his right, when Jesus enters into His glory. They aspired for greatness, but they aspired for it as an end in itself. It is no wonder the other ten became indignant at them. It is no wonder Jesus had to immediately correct them: “…You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you”(vv42-43).


What is the Christian proposal? Every ambition should be underlined by a sense of mission. Whatever your ambition is, let it be ingrained with mission. What is mission? Jesus himself tells us in the Gospel:“…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (vv 44-45) Ambition without mission consumes. Ambition inbreathed by mission consummates, i.e, perfects the one who dreams, makes him/her what God intends him/her to be.


I may sound like a total bore but come to think of it, the country doesn’t really need celebrities. Well at least, no more. We already have an over supply of them -  good looking celebrities who waste our TV viewing time with their modicum of talent and endless and mundane personal problems broadcasted nationwide. What we need are heroes – people truly worthy of emulation. Heroes are not celebrities. In fact, heroes do not want to be celebrities. Their “fame, fortune and stardom” are not sought as ends in themselves but are only by products of their noble pursuits. If Ninoy is now a “celebrity”, it is only because he was first and foremost a hero.


Would that we have more Ninoys. Would that we have more Efren Penafloridas, the 2009 CNN awardee for the Hero of the Year, who spent his time, talent and treasure educating the poor kids who cannot go to school by bringing the classrooms to them through his “rolling classrooms.” Would that we have more Saint Lorenzo Ruizes, our first Filipino saint. Would that we have more young men and women like Saint Pedro Calungsod, a true blue Filipino (from Cebu) who today will be raised to the altar of sainthood in Rome. He was a virtual unknown until his blood nourished the Christian faith in the Marianas where he was martyred catechizing the Chamorros of the Marianas . He was a common man, an anonymous young catechist who became a hero/saint. The dream for fame, fortune and stardom did not consume him. He was not a celebrity. He did not want to be a celebrity. He did not seek fame, fortune and stardom. But now he will have more than fame, fortune and stardom. He enrolled, not in the Artista Academy, but in the school of charity, and his name is now enrolled in the saints of Heaven, blessed for all eternity ( Just a small note: Live coverage of the canonization rite in Rome headed by Pope Benedict XVI will be aired tomorrow live at EWTN at 330 pm. I believe GMA 7 will also be covering the canonization event).


This is the dream that we should see in our sleep. This is the dream that we should all lose sleep over.


I’m sorry to contradict Tina Turner but “we DO need another hero”, not another celebrity. We do need more saints. We do need more Pedro Calungsods. May I invite evertyone reading this note to google information on our seond Filiipno saint and see how he can be a leaven of inspiration.


As the Filipino nation blesses God for the gift of another saint in Pedro Calungsod, let us all proudly say: “I Am Pedro!”

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Thanks Sis for this wonderful blog. I feel so blessed for having the second Filipino saint. Let us continue to Proclaim the Greatness of the Lord.

“Lord remind us that life is FULL of surprises, constant changes, many choices and SECOND CHANCES" (Father Jerry Orbos)
Posted 11/9/2012 12:15:40 AM

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