ucanews.com reporter, CebuUpdated: December 02, 2012 07:20 PM GMT
An estimated half a million people attended the "national thanksgiving" celebration for the canonization of Pedro Calungsod, the second Filipino saint, in Cebu today.
At the event were President Benigno Aquino, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, retired Cardinal Ricardo Vidal of Cebu and Cardinal Angelo Amato, the Prefect for the Congregation of Saints.
A foot procession of 80 carrozas, floats of Catholic saints, from parishes around the province opened the celebration early in the day.
At noon, a waterborne procession brought the image of Calungsod on board a galleon to a new site dedicated to the saint, which stands on a 27-hectare beachside property.
Archbishop Palma told reporters that the fluvial procession depicted the travel of Calungsod to Guam, where the martyr died as a catechist in the late 1600s.
He said the galleon that took Calungsod to Guam was God’s instrument for bringing him and offering his life for the faith.
“This is also a reminder that life is a journey,” the prelate said. He urged the faithful to emulate Calungsod.
President Aquino, who arrived in the city early in the day, delivered a message after the Mass, which was followed by a cultural presentation and a grand fireworks display.
Security was tight around the city with special weapons and tactics teams and K-9 units on the lookout for possible trouble.
Police earlier appealed to devotees not to bring sharp objects or jewelry, warning them that security would be very strict at the Mass venue.
Church officials have cited Calungsod as a role model for young people as well as overseas Filipino workers, as he died for his faith in his teens while in a foreign land.