St. Junípero Serra

A Few Words About Junípero Serra

Junípero Serra was a Spanish Franciscan friar who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, which at the time were in Alta California in the Province of Las Californias in New Spain.

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Serra in the News

Latino Catholics See Reflection in a Friar Set for Sainthood by Fernanda Santos New York Times

On his way to Mass every morning at Mission San Buenaventura, Miguel Olivas drives past the bronze statue of the Catholic mission’s founder, Junípero Serra, a Spanish Franciscan friar, and murmurs a plea: “Pray for me, Father Serra. Watch over me.”

But to Jorge Escamilla, Father Serra — who will be canonized by Pope Francis on Wednesday in Washington — is much more than a source of spiritual solace.

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Seize the Day’s Resolve: St. Junípero Serra by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted Catholic Sun

In September of AD 1772, Friar Junípero Serra returned to San Diego, exhausted in body and spirit. He had just walked for three weeks, travelling all the way from northern California to the first mission he had founded. Despite his usual optimistic disposition, he was worn down by the scarcity of food, hampered by the sharp pain shooting from the incurable wound in his leg, and above all ensnarled in a heated dispute with Pedro Fages, the lieutenant governor of the Las Californias province of New Spain.

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The First Pope from the Americas Arrives Today to Remind Us Who We Are by Kathryn Jean Lopez National Review

On Friday night, Dominican priests welcomed young men for a vocation weekend in Washington, D.C., beginning with a Mass in the chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where Pope Francis will be tomorrow. Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P., took this picture during Mass, highlighting the walk all are called to: holiness.

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Fact or fiction? Historians weigh in on Serra. Did soon-to-be canonized Junipero Serra play a role in the decimation of California’s Indians? by Valerie Schmalz Our Sunday Visitor

Blessed Junípero Serra is one of the great figures in the history of the Church’s mission ad gentes — “to the nations.”

When he is declared a saint later this year, Father Serra will be the latest in a line of “missionary saints” from the Americas that Pope Francis has elevated during his pontificate.

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Sainthood and Serra: His Virtues Outdistance his Sins by Gregory Orfalea, LA Times

The outcries began as soon as Pope Francis announced that, after 80 years of formal consideration, Father Junípero Serra, founder of the California missions, was to be made a saint. The outrage isn't new. It hews back to the accusation that Serra actively participated in “genocide,” a notion promoted by California Native American advocates such as Rupert and Jeannette Costo in the 1980s. For others it is bad enough that, to modern eyes, the mission system was oppressive.

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