The Latin Rite’s Canon of the Mass before only contains the names of the Martyr’s, the Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph. But by the fourth century people who have confessed their faith not by dying but by their words and life began to venerate publicly. Their names were inserted in the diptychs and honored like those of the martyrs by the approval of the local bishop. The approval of local bishops was required even for the veneration of a reputed martyr.
The bishop of the diocese in which the martyrdom took place set up a canonical process for conducting the inquiry with the utmost severity. The acts of the process were sent either to the metropolitan or primate, who carefully examined the cause, and, after consultation with the suffragan bishops, declared whether the defunct was worthy of the name of 'martyr' and public veneration.
Acts of formal recognition, such as the erection of an altar over the saint's tomb or transferring the saint's relics to a church, were preceded by formal inquiries into the sanctity of the person's life and the miracles attributed to that person's intercession. Such acts of recognition of a saint were authoritative, in the strict sense, only for the diocese or ecclesiastical province for which they were issued, but with the spread of the fame of a saint
First Step: When the subject arises that a person should be considered for Sainthood, a Bishop is placed in charge of the initial investigation of the person's life. If it is determined that the candidate is deemed worthy of further consideration, the Vatican grants a "Nihil Obstat." This is a Latin phrase that means "nothing hinders." Henceforth, the candidate is called a "Servant of God."
Second Step: The Church Official, a Postulator, who coordinates the process and serves as an advocate, must prove that the candidate lived heroic virtues. This is achived through the collection of documents and testimonies that are collected and presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. When a candidate is approved, he/she earns the title of "Venerable."
Third Step: To be beatified and recognized as a "Blessed," one miracle acquired through the candidate’s intercession is required in addition to recognition of heroic virtue (or martyrdom in the case of a martyr).
Fourth Step: Canonization requires a second miracle after beatification, though a Pope may waive these requirements. (A miracle is not required prior to a martyr’s beatification, but one is required before his/her canonization.) Once this second miracle has been received through the candidate's intercession, the Pope declares the person a "Saint."
Pedro Calungsod the Second Filipino Saint
In 1668 mission headed by Fr. Diego Luís de San Vitores, S.J, Calungsod was one of the boy catechists who went with the Spanish Jesuit Missionaries from the Philippines to the Ladrones Islands in the Western Pacific to evangelize the Chamorros. The Ladrones Island at that time was part of the old diocese of Cebu and the Jesuits train and employ young boys as competent catechists and versatile assistants in their missions.
Life in the Ladrones was hard. The provisions for the Mission did not arrive regularly; the jungles were too thick to cross; the cliffs were very steep to climb, and the islands were frequently visited by devastating typhoons. Envious also by a fake Chinese named Choco added to the hardship of the mission, rumors about the poisonous baptismal water spread. In addition some sickly Chamorro infants die after being baptized. The Macanjas also supported the evil campaign of Choco leading to the persecution of the missionaries.
Despite the hardships, the missionaries persevered, and the Mission was blessed with many conversions. The first mission residence and church were built in the town of Hagåtña [Agadña; Agaña; Agana] in the island of Guam and was dedicated to the Dulce Nombre de Maria, the Sweet Name of Mary. Subsequently, the islands were renamed “Marianas” by the missionaries in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the then queen regent of Spain, Maria Ana, who was the benefactress of that Mission.
To give Matapang some time to cool down, Padre Diego and Pedro gathered the children and some adults of the village at the nearby shore and started chanting with them the truths of the Catholic Faith. They invited Matapang to join them, but the apostate shouted back that he was angry with God and was already fed up with the Christian teachings.
Determined to kill the missionaries, Matapang went away and tried to enlist in his cause another villager, named Hirao, who was not a Christian. At first, Hirao refused, mindful of the kindness of the missionaries towards the natives; but, when Matapang branded him a coward, he got piqued and so he consented. Meanwhile, during that brief absence of Matapang from his hut, Padre Diego and Pedro took the chance of baptizing the infant with the consent of the Christian mother.
When Matapang learned of the baptism, he became even more furious. He violently hurled spears first at Pedro. The lad skirted the darting spears with remarkable dexterity. Witnesses said that Pedro had all the chances to escape because he was very agile, but he did not want to leave Padre Diego alone. Those who personally knew Pedro believed that he would have defeated his fierce aggressors and would have freed both himself and Padre Diego if only he had some weapon because he was a valiant boy; but Padre Diego never allowed his companions to carry arms. Finally, Pedro got hit by a spear at the chest and he fell to the ground. Hirao immediately charged towards him and finished him off with a blow of a cutlass on the head. Padre Diego could not do anything except to raise a crucifix and give Pedro the final sacramental absolution. After that, the assassins also killed Padre Diego.
Matapang took the crucifix of Padre Diego and pounded it with a stone while blaspheming God. Then, both assassins denuded the bodies of Pedro and Padre Diego, dragged them to the edge of the shore, tied large stones to their feet, brought them on a proa to sea and threw them into the deep. Those remains of the martyrs were never to be found again.
When the companion missionaries of Pedro learned of his death, they exclaimed, “Fortunate youth! How well rewarded his four years of persevering service to God in the difficult Mission are; he has become the precursor of our superior, Padre Diego, in Heaven!” They remembered Pedro to be a boy with a very good disposition, a virtuous catechist, a faithful assistant, a good Catholic whose perseverance in the Faith even to the point of martyrdom proved him to be a good soldier of Christ. “Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude.”