Save 20% off! Join our newsletter and get 20% off right away!

Teen Saint Pedro Caungsod, The Musical

BY CYNTHIA ARGANA – It was already midday of 21 August and all of us here in Sydney were waiting for words from Manila.  That day, 21 members of 29 AD musicionaries (as how they are fondly called, coined from the words musicians and missionaries) were supposed to fly to Sydney for the “Teen Saint Pedro The Musical”.

The night before The Manila International Airport Authority has put all flights on hold as all roads leading to the NAIA are flooded as heavy rains brought by tropical storm “Maring” continued to pour in.

Whilst typhoon Maring was taking its toll on the streets of Manila, the organizers of the concert, Couples for Christ (CFC), a global community of family evangelisers, were also storming the gates of heaven for protection for the Filipino people and safe passage for 29 AD performers coming to Sydney.

In Manila, Bob and Aileen Serrano, CFC sector head and musical director of the play, unceasingly monitoring the situation as well.  Members were calling, “Tita Ai, tuloy po ba tayo?”.  They can only claim God’s grace and St Pedro Calungsod’s intercession that the trip would push through.  Even the utility vehicle that one of the main characters borrowed to go to the airport conked out in the flood.  Aileen was assuring her on the phone and asked that they pray together. Lo and behold, a dump truck passed by and managed to squeeze her in!  In the end, all 46 musicionaries all made it to Sydney boarded on their original flights.

Truly, God’s hands were in this event from the start.  In February, Lori Estera, a Council member of CFC Australia had a vision of bringing the TSP musical to Sydney in time for CFC’s 25th Anniversary.  We want to celebrate the blessing of another Filipino saint, and one whom particularly the youth can emulate.  St. Pedro Calungsod was only 18 years old when he was martyred in 1872 after he joined the Jesuit missionaries led by Padre Diego to propagate Catholicism in Guam.

When opposition from the Chamorro tribes escalated, he had the chance to flee but chose to stay.  The words later on attributed to the young Saint goes, “No martyr ever dies in vain.”

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle commissioned 29 AD, composed of CFC members, to encapsulate the young saint’s love for God.  In less than two months the production was able to stage its debut performance, a month before the Saint’s canonization in October last year.

Now, to bring the production to Australia seemed like a Goliath task for CFC.  How do we apply for visa? 29 AD are not professional entertainers.  On the other hand, tourist visa have stringent requirements as well.  Yet all of the 46 cast and crew’s applications were approved without difficulty.   Budget was also crucial since the musical was not meant for profit but for a mission.  It is CFC’s way of responding to the Church’s call of New Evangelisation, to spread the Faith using secular avenues.  Thus it was affirming how the Lord provided for cheap flights, how local CFC members opened their homes to provide free accommodation (the blessing of being in a global community), how local talents abound from Kids for Christ, Youth for Christ, Singles for Christ, and how local CFC members sacrificed their time, talent and resources to build the stage props and costumes.

TSP the Musical is CFC’s offering as a way of thanking God for using our community as His instrument in this part of the world.