by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki
July 1 was the feast day of St. Junípero Serra, a Franciscan missionary priest from Majorca, Spain, who came to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the New World in 1750. He established nine of the California missions, baptized over 6,000 native peoples, and is recognized as a builder of the State of California. Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1988, calling him “an exemplary model of the selfless evangelizer.” Pope Francis canonized him as a saint during his visit to the United States in 2015. Unfortunately, some radical anarchists who are ignorant of history have destroyed statues of St. Junípero Serra. After a statue of St. Junípero Serra was torn down in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on June 19 by a crowd of about 100 people, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the Archbishop of San Francisco, was joined by several dozen Catholics in prayer and acts of spiritual reparation.