VATICAN CITY - The countdown for the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod and 6 others has started.
No less than Pope Benedict XVI will lead in the canonization rites scheduled Sunday morning, October 21, at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican.
The late teen mission worker is the youngest among those to be canonized.
He was between 16 to 18 years old when he died while protecting his superior, Jesuit mission priest Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores of Spain in Guam.
This was way back in 1672, while evangelizing the natives of the island.
Calungsod will be canonized first than Fr. Diego, who was beatified in 1985 by Pope John Paul II.
Calungsod will become the second Filipino saint, after Lorenzo Ruiz who was canonized in October 1987.
Last night, the series of masses and other religious activities started.
An art exhibit depicting photos of united Filipino communities in Rome opened to the public with Cebu Archbishop Cardinal Ricardo Vidal leading the ceremony.
Cardinal Vidal compared the life of Calungsod to that of many overseas Filipino workers who propagate the teachings of Christ in other countries.
The art exhibit will run for one week.
Rome-based Filipinos are looking forward to the canonization of Calungsod.
More than 5,000 Filipino pilgrims are expected to be in Sunday's historic occasion.
Most of them are from the Visayas, where Calungsod hails.
Vice-President Jejomar Binay will lead the Philippine delegation.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada and his mom, former Senator Loi Estrada, will be arriving Thursday night.