California celebrates a great missionary in the Year of Faith

2012-12-10 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The Church in California is celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of its most famous adopted son. Blessed Junipero Serra was born in Majorca in Spain but came to the U.S. state where he founded a chain of missions. The Diocese of Monterey recently kicked off celebrations with a Gala evening attended by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Speaking to Lydia O’Kane about Blessed Serra’s life and legacy in this Year of Faith, the Bishop of Monterey, Richard Garcia says it is wonderful to be celebrating both events.

“I think it’s a beautiful opportunity too for our people to really not only commemorate Blessed Serra and the 300th anniversary of his birth but also to follow the teaching of our Holy Father Benedict XVI to have this Year of Faith and to really have that personal encounter with Christ our Saviour.

He also says, “I’ve asked all seven of our missions to incorporate the two, not only to honour and commemorate Blessed Serra but also to do something for the Year of Faith. Now, some of the missions are having more retreats for example, some of the missions are offering days of prayer, some of them will have concerts…”

Blessed Serra died at the aged of 70 at the St Charles Borromeo Mission in Carmel, Monterey in 1784, where he is now buried under the sanctuary floor.

He was Beatified by Blessed Pope John II on September 5th 1988. Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s interview with Bishop Garcia