The feast day of St. Junipero Serra is sure to bring back memories of his canonization on September 23, 2015, at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Serra was the first saint to be canonized on U.S. soil. Born on the island of Majorca in 1713, he was educated by the Franciscans from an early age. Entering the order when he was fifteen, the date of his ordination is uncertain but December of 1738 is given. He studied for and received a doctorate in theology in 1742 and later in 1749 was assigned to America as a missionary to the Indians. He is best known for founding nine of the twenty-one California Missions. For more information on St. Junipero Serra, http://www.usccb.org/about/leadership/holy-see/francis/papal-visit-2015/junipero-serra-biography.cfm
Washington, D.C. and its surroundings were alive with excitement over the visit by Pope Francis on the occasion of the canonization and subsequent visit to the United States Congress.
Our diocesan priests rode the metro to the Brookland/CUA station where we all disembarked, waiting to get a glimpse of the crowds and the set-up for the event that was just out of sight from our metro view.
It was a long wait to get beyond security and the ticket checkers. We found some old friends and met a few new ones while we waited. Fr. Peter from TN is with Rosemary and her friend's daughters from CA. We were not the only ones, waiting and praying patiently for our turn to go through security.
Finally the wait was over. At least the first leg of it. We rounded the corner and saw the staged altar with the large monitors to the right and to the left, which would allow many to watch the canonization Mass from a distance. That was us!
And finally, Pope Francis came out and Mass began. The excited crowd quieted and an experience of a lifetime began for all those present: the canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra on American soil. What a grace for the United States.
When all had ended, we stopped and looked back at the basilica with its carillon
Closer view of the banner hanging on the front side of the basilica.
If you are inspired to make and bake an edible treat from St. Serra's birthplace of Majorca, here is a link below to the recipe I posted in 2016. Enjoy and happy feast day!