The director of the Vatican Press, Father Federico Lombardi, announced the canonization of the Spanish missioner Junipero Serra on May 2nd in the North American Pontifical Council. Pope Francis is going to proclaim the saint during his visit to the USA on November 23rd, in front of the National Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. “Father Serra was a holy man and he gave the news of God’s love and mercy to the American acontinent,” said the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose Gomez. “The canonization od father Serra – added the bishop – is going to be a great blessing”. He opposed some organizations considering the religious man as a collaborator of Spanish people against indigenous.
Father Serra is considered the protector of indigenous and in order to make his evangelization known, the archdiocese of Los Angeles created a website. “I think this is a special occasion, he is the first Hispanic saint canonized by Pope Francis, who is from South America, in America” underlined Mons. Gomez.
Father Serra was born in Petra of Maiorca in Spain in 1713 and he became friar in 1730. In 1749, he followed his missionary path and embarked to visit the new world. Then he went to Vera Cruz and walked all the way to the City of Mexico. Here, he served the San Fernando College and then he was sent in Sierra Gorda of Queretaro. He came back to Mexico after 9 years among the indigenous and he left to California as the leader of a group of 16 friars. They arrived in July 1767.
“He is a great apostle of America in a spiritual and pastoral way. He is very well known for his holiness and gestures. The Positio – the investigation led by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints – opens the path to a solid faith which may be particularly important in the field of New Evangelization” said Father Criscuolo, speaker to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints who offered journalists a synthesis of the investigation led by the Holy See.
Translation provided by Mary Ann D’Costa