After more than 500 years of Catholicism, the Philippines is blessed with not one, but two saints. These are Saint Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila and Saint Pedro Calungsod of Cebu.
Needless to say, Catholic Filipinos are ecstatic over these developments. Here is a brief background of the two Filipino saints:
St. Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila
Lorenzo Ruiz was from Binondo, Manila, of Chinese and Filipino descent as he was born to a Chinese father and a Filipino mother. Both his parents were Catholic. He was educated under the Dominicans. As a young man, he served the Catholic Church as an altar boy. Later on, he became its calligrapher. He was also an active member of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.
His martyrdom happened in the 1600s when he, together with other companions, left Manila for Japan. At that time, Christians were persecuted in Japan. He was taken prisoner upon landing in Japan. Subsequently he was tortured and demanded to renounce his Catholic faith. He refused to do so and even declared that he was ready to die a thousand deaths for the glory of God. He eventually died two days after he was hanged feet up with his head and body in the pit.
He and his companions (three Dominican priests, a Japanese priest and a lay leper) were beatified by Pope John Paul II during his papal visit in the Philippines on February 18, 1981. Six years later, Pope John Paul II canonized Lorenzo Ruiz into sainthood on October 18, 1987. Henceforth, Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint has been known as St. Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila. His feast day falls every September 28.
San Pedro Calungsod of Cebu
Pedro Calungsod of Cebu is the second Filipino beatified and canonized into sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church. The canonization rites were led by Pope Benedict XVI last October 21, 2012.
Pedro Calungsod originally hailed from Iloilo, a province in the Visayas Island. He moved to Cebu as a youth and studied under the Jesuits. He was a young catechist at 14 years old. He accompanied the Jesuits in their missionary work at the Marianas Islands. His martyrdom happened when he was 17 years old. He tried to save Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, SJ from the wrath of the natives in Guam, having himself killed in the process.
He is now known as Saint Pedro Calungsod of Cebu (San Pedro de Cebu). His feast day falls on April 2.
Saint Pedro Calungsod of Cebu is viewed as the patron saint of the youth.