‘Saint’ Serra highlights Hispanic contribution to U.S., official says

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April 20, 2015

Blessed Junipero Serra is depicted in a copy of an undated oil-on-canvas

Blessed Junipero Serra is depicted in a copy of an undated oil-on-canvas painting by Franciscan Father Jose Mosqueda. Blessed Junipero was an 18th-century Spanish Franciscan priest who founded a network of missions in territory that is present-day California and Mexico. The missionary will be canonized by Pope Francis in September. (CNS/courtesy of Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra will give the United States its first Hispanic saint, which should help more Americans realize that the country was settled by both Hispanics and Anglos, said the secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

Guzman Carriquiry, the Vatican official who hails from Uruguay, told reporters he hoped the canonization would promote greater acceptance of Hispanic Americans, recognition of the Catholic contribution to U.S. history and a more accurate understanding of how the United States became a country.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, announced April 20 that Pope Francis planned to canonize the 18th-century Spanish Franciscan missionary the evening of Sept. 23 during a Mass on the lawn of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

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