Now, even as the fierce controversy over Serra continues unabated, one of Francis’ first acts during his visit to the United States will be to make the Franciscan friar from Spain a saint. I was assigned the Mission Santa Clara de Asis, the eighth one in California, founded in 1777 to proselytize the local Ohlone Indians and blessed by Serra in 1779. This genocide is just another disgraceful example of Native American history that is forgotten, whitewashed or ignored.
But some Native Americans and others oppose the canonization.
Pope Francis plans to canonize Junipero Serra in Washington, D.C., this week. He told The Guardian that Serra “decimated 90% of the Indian Population”. Spanish Franciscan missionary who came to the new world in seventeen forty nine to convert needed people to Christianity… the Pope’s message has been the… the… the outreach is the new evangelization… you need to know Sara…is… a lot more on that…
Serra often distanced himself and his missions from the soldiers’ garrisons, and he “was constantly critiquing the military for its treatment of the Native Americans”, including rape of Indian women, Laverone added. Incidentally – and unintentionally – the Spanish carried with them devastating diseases that dramatically reduced the native population.
“He should have had that awareness”, Mr. Hackel said. “It’s very unusual for the Pope to actually come to the United States and have a canonization here”. “In some ways it’s a rebuke of that … ugly immigration moment that we’re in”.
The California Catholic Conference is taking steps to revise Catholic curricula, as well as the information in the mission museums, to reflect the findings of the best contemporary scholarship on Father Serra and the era and restore the perspectives and prominence of the California Indians in its telling of the history.
Pittsburgh, like many dioceses, has several Serra Clubs, and the Pittsburgh chapter recently held a dinner honoring newly ordained priests.
Who is the real Father Junípero Serra, then? He would go on to found more missions.
Vatican sources said Francis may make another apology during the canonisation ceremony outside a Washington church, where some Native Americans say they hope to be able to protest. Sixteen students from the school who are named after Serra will be in the audience during the canonization celebration.
“It’s cause for great celebration of our faith and our identity”, Mr. Chirdon said.
Serra introduced Christianity and established settlements as he marched north with Spanish conquistadores through the land that would become California.
“It is incomprehensible for us to think that you would canonize a person who is ultimately responsible for the death of approximately 100,000 California Indians and the complete extermination of many native tribes, cultures and languages”, Valentin Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun tribal band, wrote in a letter to Pope Francis asking him to halt the canonization. “That’s not saying they’re ideal “, said the Rev. Brian Welding, rector of the seminary. On Wednesday, the Pope meets with President Obama, followed by a Papal Parade. Father Serra saw it as an opportunity to save souls. He and others are asking the California Legislature to establish a permanent day of remembrance to acknowledge the state’s role in “one of the most horrific genocides in the history of California”. Around this time each year, a crowd of people gathers outside the mission’s sandy-colored walls to re-enact the journey made by the Pobladores, the families who left this mission 234 years ago to found the city of Los Angeles.
Miguel Jose Serra was born in 1713 in Petra, Mallorca. The record shows that Serra “healed” a St. Louis nun of lupus, but with no evidence of a second recorded miracle, Pope Francis chose to waive that requirement. One worshiper died imitating him. She got the call from the religious community at the Carmel Mission.
The Vatican has gone on the offensive to present Serra more positively as someone who protected Native Americans from colonial officials.