Today the American Church celebrates the feast of the “Father of California Missions,” Blessed Junípero Serra. This Spanish Franciscan founded a number of missions, including Santa Clara and Santa Barbara, and worked to confirm over 5,000 native peoples in the Catholic faith. Despite a number of injuries and illnesses, he evangelized with courage, always trusting in the Providence of God.
During Junípero Serra’s beatification, Blessed John Paul II said that Fr. Serra:
…sowed the seeds of Christian faith amid the mountainous changes wrought by the arrival of European settlers in the New World…In fulfilling this ministry, Fr. Serra showed himself to be a true son of St. Francis.
On this day of your feast, Blessed Junípero Serra, pray for the Church as she continues with the mission of the New Evangelization.
Information from Matthew and Margaret Bunson’s John Paul II’s Book of Saints.