Ambiguities about Serra should not discount sainthood, panelists say

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April 23, 2015

Arizona bishop joins panel discussion at Catholic University of America on upcoming canonization of Blessed Serra

Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., speaks April 22 at The Catholic University of America in Washington as a member of a panel of historians and other clergymen who came together to discuss the significance of the upcoming canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Although the upcoming canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra has stirred mixed reaction, a group of panelists April 22 said the ambiguities around the friar should not discount the good work he did or the positive dialogue and reconciliation that could result from his sainthood.

“He made a lot of mistakes, but he was a man of his time. He was flawed but heroic,” said Franciscan Father Joe Nangle about Blessed Serra, the 18th-century Spanish Franciscan who established missionaries in the U.S.

Father Nangle, associate pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Arlington, Virginia, was a panelist in the “Founding Padres” discussion held at The Catholic University of America. It focused on three Catholic priests represented in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall: Blessed Serra and Jesuit Fathers Jacques Marquette and Eusebio Kino.

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