#WorthRevisit: Almost-Saint for Today

Today we celebrate Bl. Junípero Serra, a favorite of mine ever since I learned about him in grade school. He’ll be named a saint in only a few short months, during the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia!

Ironically, we’re celebrating a Franciscan saint-to-be on the very first day since 1936 that my parish has not been served by Franciscan friars. We Secular Franciscans are all that’s left here. I’ll be keeping my Franciscan saints (and saints-to-be) close and praying that our new pastor is Franciscan-friendly.

So here’s my post from a year ago, Worth Revisiting:

Today the Church celebrates a priest I first learned about in grade school.

Public school.

(I’m pretty sure that would never happen today.)

Father Serra statue C JohnsonBut back in second grade in 1972, our Social Studies book had a whole section on the California missionaries, led by Father Junípero Serra.

I was fascinated.

Here were pictures, in my schoolbook, of men dressed like my uncle, who is a Franciscan friar. Here was the story of a priest who founded a string of Catholic churches throughout what later became the state of California at the same time the American Revolution was being fought in the eastern part of our nation.

In the Catholic middle school I attended, I learned about Father Serra again; Father Serra stained glass C Johnsonthis time the lesson was brought to us by speakers from the Serra Club, a group that promotes vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

As an adult, when I had the chance to visit California with Hubs in 1995, I made sure to see one of the mission churches there. California mission C JohnsonI’d love to take a trip along El Camino Real and see them all. They’re beautiful tributes to evangelization.

Here’s more about this energetic, dedicated Franciscan saint.

All images generously shared by Christine Johnson.

I’m linking up at Worth Revisiting, hosted by Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb.

worth revisit

4 thoughts on “#WorthRevisit: Almost-Saint for Today

  1. Wow, Barb, that is incredible that you learned about Bl. Junipero Serra in PUBLIC SCHOOL. I went to both private and public schools growing up, and the experiences were as night and day. What a blessing…seems as if this sort of paved the way for your love of Franciscan spirituality! 🙂

    • I know! Looking back at this, it would NEVER happen now. I imagine I was probably in one of the last classes to have those lessons in the textbook! But I grew up surrounded by Franciscans; my uncle is a friar. I think I was in 8th grade before I realized that not all priests wear brown robes!

  2. All California public school students do a required history of the missions! My parents’ parish is one of the original missions, and I’ve visited almost 1/2 of them.

    • That’s cool about CA students! It IS a huge part of their history. I’ve seen stuff in the news about a statue of Fr. Serra being removed from the Statehouse, though, so I’m wondering if that’s going on, will the lessons be far behind?

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