Pope Francis to make Franciscan missionary a saint during US trip

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Oil painting of Father Junípero Serra from the 1700s.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

Oil painting of Father Junípero Serra from the 1700s.

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(RNS) Pope Francis said Thursday (Jan. 15) he plans to canonize 18th-century Franciscan missionary Junipero Serra during the papal visit to the U.S. in September, an indication that the pontiff may be mulling a stop near the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • Sister Geraldine Marie, OP, RN, PHN

    Wonderful! May the good YHWH bless Pope Francis! I have always loved the California Missions which helped all people in civilizing California. The padres also protected the Indians against the soldiers who frequently bullied them.

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  • Philip

    A disclosure statement is warranted for the following article: I have visited and prayed in almost all of the California Missions. The Missions are great historical structures of Early California.
    I grow tired of the social-environmental “We were here first group” that predicate their existence on the invasion of Europeans to anywhere. They perceive the earth as their protective that only they have the right to view, like a person walking through a zoo. I guess that would make them the first Adam and Eve! It was bad enough to have two people on this earth; but, when they realized they were naked, they started multiplying with abandonment!
    Re: the canonization of Junipero Serra, he is no more than a pawn in a marketing scheme to promote the virtues and popularity of an historical figure. Was he a good man? I would say “Yes.” Was he a saint? The only saint I ever knew of who was perfect was Jesus. The Church creates heroes like MLB creates baseball cards.
    I cringe at the outmoded marketing gimmick that predominately works to the base of all religions: the uneducated. Should Father Junipero Serra be honored as a saint? That’s not for me to say. The Catholic Church enjoys selling icons, especially from those who are long gone and cannot receive any royalties.
    God bless Father Junipero Serra for all the good things he did! At the end of the day, all of us on earth pray that the worthiness of being called a good person outweighs the destructive qualities so that the scale of life is tipped.

  • Stephen Lewis

    Another ethical blunder by my favorite Catholic Pope. I was born in Santa Barbara where the Queen of the Missions Serra established sits in great beauty. I remember fondly my days of going to the triangle of the Old Mission, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and the old Mission Indian village site. But in my adult years I worked, still work for decades now in “Indian Country” where I have many Native American friends and I work for them on projects to recover lost ancestral lands. And I can tell you Pope Francis will lose many Native American supporters and many liberals as well as Serra set up a native slave system to build those pretty Missions, like the Old Mission in Santa Barbara. Slavery of tribal people to make edifices for Christ? Only to Catholics would this perversion of Jesus’ teachings against wealth and show piece religion be acceptable, or perhaps not, as I seem to be the only one here recognizing Francis big boo-boo, another stemming directly from his role as head of a quite successful even now religious business enterprise using all the Wizard of Oz tricks imaginable to keep the faithful mesmerized and not asking too many questions..

  • Henry pedregon

    Later in the year Pope Francis is to canonize Fra. Serra as a saint. To make Serra a saint is comparable to giving Hitler the Nobel Peace Prize. Under Serra’s authority, Tribes throughout California were subjected to slavery, torture, rape, disease, and near annihilation. The Gabrieleno Band of Mission Indians-KIZH Nation have initiated a petition opposing the Pope. The petition has gone world-wide. Attached is the link to the petition. Through your resources, it is imperative to pass along this information. Making Serra a saint would condone the atrocities initiated by the missionaries and an insult to all Native People across this Nation.


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