A week after the canonization, a statue of Serra in Monterey was decapitated. As Sainthood Awaits, Fight Over Junipero Serrra's Legacy Continues Sept. 21, 2015 01:49. The announcement that Pope Francis would canonize Blessed Junipero Serra during his visit to the United States in September took American Catholics by complete surprise. Success! Few images exist of 18th-century Spanish missionary Junipero Serra, a founding figure of the American West. As told by the Pope, Archbishop Gomez, and Dr. Carriquiri, Serra’s story—sailing across the Atlantic, venturing deep into Mexico on foot, journeying far north to California—is not just a life of Catholic heroism. Two years later in Santa Barbara, another Serra monument at the city's mission was also decapitated and covered with red paint. The canonization of Serra hearkens back to a pious, if not perilous, understanding of evangelization, and offers painful evidence that the institutional church … This rereading of early American history is long overdue and driven by powerful demographic shifts in our nation’s population, especially in places like California, home to nearly 39 million people, nearly 15 million of whom are Latino and 10 million of whom are Roman Catholic. The queues stretched to security checkpoints where those holding the 25,000 tickets distributed for the ceremony. © 2020 Cable News Network. Fifty different tribes in California condemned the sainthood conferred on Serra, said Deborah Miranda, a literature professor at Washington and Lee University in Virginia and a member of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation of California. When Pope Francis announced that he was going to declare sainthood for Junipero Serra during a flight to Manila in January 2015, some people took it as an impromptu decision. Descendants of Mission Natives strongly oppose the canonization of Junipero Serra. But the Native American campaign to stop Serra’s canonization never gained an audience in Rome, Miranda said. The Vatican has argued that Serra was "a man of his time" and should not be judged by modern standards. Process is the blog of the Organization of American Historians, The Journal of American History, and The American Historian, dedicated to exploring the process of doing history and the multifaceted ways of engaging with the U.S. past. Password reset email has been resent. Junípero Serra. Junipero Serra at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C., 23 September 2015 “But I don’t think Pope Francis wants pristine saints,” Kesicki continued, “because then no one will aspire to sainthood.”. For that accomplishment and others related to it, Serra was given an exalted place in the nation’s capital as one of two Californians represented in Statuary Hall (the other is Ronald Reagan). Against all odds—when he was old and in poor health from fatigue and a chronically ulcerous leg, with the Spanish military in California turned against him—Serra persevered to found more missions. Pope Francis has established a reputation as advocate for the oppressed, but the canonization of Junipero Serra represents the celebration of Indigenous genocide, at the hands of the Church. The Canonization of JuN Ípero SerrA November 24, 1713 – August 28,1784 1784 - Junípero Serra’s Death ... Junipero Serra’s missionary headquarters J unípero was a bright student and began his priestly career as a professor of philosophy at the Lullian University at Palma. Please click the button below to agree to our Terms and Conditions and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. Soon Pope Francis will confer upon him a far greater honor, making him the first Hispanic saint from the territory of what is now the United States. Pope Francis named Junipero Serra a saint in 2015 over the loud protests of Native Americans. Junipero Serra sainthood cause just one miracle away. CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network. But debates about Serra’s Indian policy miss a fundamental message that the Pope intends to deliver through Serra’s canonization: our nation’s current wave of anti-immigration rhetoric flies in the face of America’s deep Hispanic and Catholic roots, and sadly it draws on a rich vein of anti-Catholicism in American history. The St. Junípero Serra Canonization Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception made history by being the first to take place in the United States. Blessed Serra was thus deemed to have already met the sainthood criteria. Born and raised in California, Steven W. Hackel is a professor of history at the University of California, Riverside. Pope Francis has said that he fast-tracked Serra's canonization by eliminating the need to show proof of two miracles because the missionary was such a great evangelizer. In California, the establishment of twenty-one missions (nine by Serra) had disastrous results for Indians. Following is the text of the English translation of Pope Francis canonizing the Rev. Fr. While many leading American politicians are calling for a wall between the United States and Mexico, the deportation of millions of workers and their families, and the end of birthright citizenship, this pope and his advisors intend to confront those proposals by casting Serra, in effect, as the patron saint of immigration. Those who wonder about this canonization and the proper place of founding fathers like Junípero Serra in American history should know that Serra rarely lost a fight, even when he faced enormous challenges. This national amnesia about the ways in which immigrant Catholic missionaries shaped much of what is now the United States has had deleterious effects on our nation’s character. The Disputed Canonization of Junipero Serra. “He was excited about blazing trails, going forth to meet many people, learning and valuing their particular customs and ways of life.”, The Pope praised Serra’s treatment of Native Americans, saying that he “sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated and abused it.”, “Mistreatment and wrongs which today still trouble us,” Francis continued, “especially because of the hurt which they cause in the lives of many people.”. PHOTO: Why Junipero Serra Matters Today. Junipero Serra's Canonization and the Historical Record 1255 on the part of some Fathers and that we are all exposed to err in that regard. Serra, who came to California nearly 250 years ago, is the first saint to be canonized on U.S. soil. Yet to the great disappointment of men such as Pope Francis, Archbishop Gomez, and Guzmán Carriquiri, the vice president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, nearly all of the thousands of Catholic missionaries who came to America have been forgotten, losers not in the contest for North America but in the subsequent battle for a place in American history. There was no Jesus Christ lifestyle at the missions,” Lopez said, who has campaigned against sainthood for Serra. Even many who typically back Pope Francis see this canonization as a rare faux pas for the Argentine Pontiff. Medina is an Ohlone Indian who is opposed to the Pope's recent decision to grant sainthood to Father Junipero Serra, the founder of the California missions. Ahead of the Mass on Wednesday, thousands lined up for hours in nightmarish lines snaking around parts of the Catholic University of America campus. She wrote “Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir,” a book about her ancestors’ experiences in the Spanish missions. Time will tell. In 1931 a larger-than-life statue of a man who stood only a bit taller than five feet was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol. Sep 15, 2015 Russell Brown. A Saint With A Mixed History: Junipero Serra's Canonization Raises Eyebrows : The Two-Way Pope Francis announced he will elevate the influential missionary to sainthood when he … A Saint With A Mixed History: Junipero Serra's Canonization Raises Eyebrows : The Two-Way Pope Francis announced he will elevate the influential missionary to sainthood … When Pope Francis canonized Father Serra in 2015, Mr. Medina said, he traveled to Washington D.C. with the blessing of his elders to read a Bible verse in … Yes, those who criticize Serra’s treatment of Indians are right to do so. The Vatican has argued that Serra was "a man of his time" and should not be judged by modern standards. Their goals in crossing the Atlantic were to save souls and bring new regions into an expanding Spanish realm. Transcript for Why Pope Francis' Canonization of Junipero Serra Is Controversial The ceremonial ringing of the bells a mission San Juan Capistrano marking another day in … Quick Facts Name Junipero Serra Occupation Missionary, Saint Birth Date c. November 24, 1713 Death Date c. August 28, 1784 Place of Birth Majorca, Spain These migrant missionaries were serious colonizers in their own right even though their motives were not wealth or power or freedom of religious expression. Pope Francis has established a reputation as advocate for the oppressed, but the canonization of Junipero Serra represents the celebration of Indigenous genocide, at the hands of the Church. In the late 1700s land of immigrants, and among the first time the Church had attempted to Serra. Jerry Brown stated that “ the Pope is right in recognizing his ”! 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