St. Pedro Calungsod, a Filipino missionary who was 17 when he was martyred in what is now Guam, was canonized in 2012. (Public Domain/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

April 2

Educated by the Jesuits in Visayas, the Philippines, Pedro could read, write and speak Visayan, Spanish and Chamorro, paint, draw, sing and worked as a carpenter.

He served as a teenage catechist alongside Spanish Jesuit missionaries to the violent Chamarros in the Ladrones Islands (modern Marianas) in 1668 at age 14.

When he was 17, he and his companion Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores were martyred after baptizing the daughter of a Christian woman and a non-Christian village chief in the now-U.S. territory of Guam. Upon hearing of her baptism (with the mother’s consent), the chief attacked the two missionaries. Though Pedro could have escaped, he did not leave his companion.

“From his childhood, Pedro Calungsod declared himself unwaveringly for Christ and responded generously to his call. Young people today can draw encouragement and strength from the example of Pedro, whose love of Jesus inspired him to devote his teenage years to teaching the faith as a lay catechist,” Pope St. John Paul II declared during his beatification in 2000.

“In a spirit of faith, marked by strong Eucharistic and Marian devotion, Pedro undertook the demanding work asked of him and bravely faced the many obstacles and difficulties he met. In the face of imminent danger, Pedro would not forsake Fr. Diego, but as a ‘good soldier of Christ’ preferred to die at the missionary’s side,” he added.

He was canonized 12 years later by Pope Benedict XVI. He is a patron of the Philippines, and all those from there, including the members of the Filipino Catholic Community at Our Lady of the Valley Parish.