Serra canonization should awaken mission spirit, says head of Extension

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September 29, 2015

An image of St. Junipero Serra is displayed as Franciscans celebrate his canonization with a Mass of thanksgiving at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington Sept. 24. (CNS photo/Karen Kasmauski) See FRANCISCANS-MASS-SERRA Sept. 24, 2015.

An image of St. Junipero Serra is displayed as Franciscans celebrate his canonization with a Mass of thanksgiving at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington Sept. 24. (CNS photo/Karen Kasmauski)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — For Catholic Extension, the canonization of St. Junipero Serra Sept. 23 marked a renewal of the 110-year-old organization’s help to the marginalized.

“We have to awaken our mission spirit in the United States,” said Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension, in a phone interview with Catholic News Service. “You can’t do that just by being in the sanctuary. The good news is meant to be shared joyously. And it’s meant to be in the poorest places in the United States.”

This is especially true in California, where St. Junipero, a Spanish-born Franciscan friar, carried out his mission work in the 18th century. Six of the state’s 12 dioceses are still considered mission dioceses “because of the high number of people who are economically poor,” Father Wall said. They’re part of the 94 out of 196 Catholic dioceses nationwide that are classified as mission dioceses.

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