The Philippines has always been proud to be the only the Catholic country in Asia. For almost five centuries, Filipinos have been christianized and most of us have christian names. Countless of Filipinos have served the church as priests, missionaries, catechists, sacristan, and lay ministers. The first Filipino saint was canonized in October 18, 1987. The late Pope John Paul II canonized San Lorenzo Ruiz as the first Filipino saint and martyr.
25 years after the first Filipino saint was canonized, Pope Benedict XVI approved the canonization of the 2nd Filipino saint. Blessed Pedro Calungsod will be one of the seven new saints to be canonized on October 21, 2012.
Both Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod achieved their martyrdom outside the Philippines. San Lorenzo went to Japan while Blessed Pedro went to Guam. Even in the 1600s, Filipinos go to far places to find their calling. Their lives could be a testament on how committed are Filipino even in foreign land.
I am glad that the Catholic church has recognized these outstanding Filipinos. It is also the duty of present Filipino priests, missionaries and catechists to spread the word about the lives of the 2 saints. The younger generation does not know much about both saints. Way back in 1987, San Lorenzo Ruiz was very much celebrated but when I asked the elementary school children now if they know him, most of them answer in the negative.
Indeed, there is a room for teaching about their lives in the current religious curriculum. Catechists should make sure that the Filipino children know the Filipino saints. It is not so hard since we only have 1 and soon 2. Children should at least know why they became saints and the great sacrifices they made for God. I really hope that in 10 years, more Filipinos will know San Lorenzo Ruiz and San Pedro Calungsod.
Calungsod's sainthood set in October
List of Filipino Saints, Blessed and Servants of God