Posted by: fvbcdm | July 2, 2015

Catholic Daily Message for the Comm. of the Blessed Junipero Serra (1 July 2015)

As we begin this new month of July, we American Catholics celebrate the feastday of one of our fellow-American Catholics who has been beatified by the Church and singled out by our national and state governments. Blessed Junipero Serra was a Spanish Franciscan priest, born in Spain in 1713, who came to Mexico in 1750. In those days, Mexico and just about all of the western hemisphere from the Oregon border down to the south pole were part of what was generally called “New Spain.” After working in Mexico for some time, Blessed Junipero was sent with a Franciscan mission to begin the evangelization of what was called “Upper California,” now our American state of California. He began his missionary activities in San Diego, at the southern end of that “Upper California,” and built missions at the rhythm of one at a distance of a two-days’ journey on foot from the previous one—all the way up the coast to Sonoma, north of San Francisco. While that group were doing their work on the west coast, other Franciscans were attempting to do the same here in Texas, both in east Texas and in San Antonio. The most famous building in Texas is what we now called the Alamo, which was formerly a Franciscan mission built for the bringing of the gospel to that part of “New Spain.”

Blessed Junipero died at Carmel on Monterey Bay in California—one of the most charming of the old missions. His death occurred just eight years after the signing of the American Declaration of Independence which we will be celebrating this week. His body lies before the main altar in the mission church.  In our national capitol building in Washington, the people of California have erected a statue of him in its hall of statuary, where our states are invited to place monuments to their most prominent sons or daughters.

When we think of the old missions of California, we think of the romance and interest and beauty of the history of that area, but we must remember that those missionaries worked very hard, suffered a great deal, and made tremendous sacrifices to bring our holy faith to that part of the world. Let us be proud and grateful for what they did, and devoted to those saints and blesseds whose work sanctified our country and whose bodies now lie among us.  I can think of at least nine of them; there may be one or two more. No doubt in years to come, there WILL be more. For today, let us salute Blessed Junipero Serra and try to love the gospel as he did, and make efforts to share it with those who come into our lives. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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