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April 09, 2015
Bl. Junipero Serra: Word reaches the homefront
By Msgr. Francis J. Weber

Editor's note: This is part 15 in a series on the life of Bl. Junipero Serra in anticipation of his canonization. To read other articles in the series, click here.

IN a little over a year, the Spanish realm along the shores of the Pacific had been extended over eight hundred miles, from San Fernando de Velicatá to Monterey, and three missions and two presidios had been established in the area. When news of the event reached Mexico City, everyone was jubilant. The church of the city...

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April 06, 2015
Bl. Junipero Serra: On to Monterey
By Msgr. Francis J. Weber

Editor's note: This is part 14 of a series on the life of Bl. Junipero Serra in anticipation of his canonization. To read other articles in the series, click here.

NOW that San Diego had been reinforced by the arrival of the San Antonio, soldiers and missionaries began planning for further expansion. The initial step would be a sea and land trek to Monterey. Serra opted for the former. After a long and "somewhat uncomfortable voyage", Serra and the crew members of the San Antonio...

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April 02, 2015
Bl. Junipero Serra: St. Joseph to the Rescue
By Msgr. Francis J. Weber

Editor's note: This is part 13 of a series on the life of Bl. Junipero Serra in anticipation of his canonization. To read other articles in the series, click here.

NO one can stand on Presidio Hill in San Diego and remain unmoved by the fact that here is the cradle of Christianity and civilization in California. In 1769, the area was still untrodden by Christian feet.

Within a radius of ten leagues of San Diego, there were about twenty Indian villages. Frequent battles had taken place...

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March 30, 2015
Bl. Junipero Serra: Rim of Christendom
By Msgr. Francis J. Weber

Editor's note: This is part 12 of a series on the life of Bl. Junipero Serra in anticipation of his canonization. To read other articles in the series, click here.

THE third expeditionary force, the first to travel overland, departed for Alta California in mid-March of 1769. Fray Junípero Serra was to accompany the fourth and final arm of the expedition which was scheduled to leave from Loreto. Gaspar de Portolá was commander and Serra chaplain and diarist.

In the opening words of his...

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March 26, 2015
Bl. Junipero Serra: Operation Alta California
By Msgr. Francis J. Weber

Editor's note: This is part 11 of a series on the life of Bl. Junipero Serra in anticipation of his canonization. To read other articles in the series, click here.

JOSÉ de Galvez was sent to Mexico by King Charles III for the purpose of making an official visitation of the entire viceroyalty. He arrived in 1765 and remained until 1771, years in which he gained a wide knowledge of the extensive area. Interested in knowing all about the details of missionary operations, Galvez wrote to...

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March 23, 2015
Bl. Junipero Serra: Glance at the Vineyard
By Msgr. Francis J. Weber

Editor's note: This is part 10 of a series on the life of Bl. Junipero Serra in anticipation of his canonization. To read other articles in the series, click here.

IN the mid 18th century, Baja California was described as a land fit for three types of people: missionaries who, for the love of God and charity toward their neighbor, left the cultural ties of their homeland and elected to live in isolation and discomfort on a cheerless frontier to accomplish some spiritual good; Spaniards...

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March 19, 2015
Bl. Junipero Serra: Call to California
By Msgr. Francis J. Weber

Editor's note: This is part 9 of a series on the life of Bl. Junipero Serra in anticipation of his canonization. To read other articles in the series, click here.

ON February 27, 1767, King Charles III abruptly expelled the Society of Jesus from Spain and its colonies. The king's action was distinctly unpopular, but viceroys, governors, soldiers and missionaries had learned to be silent and obedient to their monarch.

Shortly after the announcement that the Society was to leave the...

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March 16, 2015
Bl. Junipero Serra: Priest Among the People
By Msgr. Francis J. Weber

Editor's note: This is part 8 of a series on the life of Bl. Junipero Serra in anticipation of his canonization. To read other articles in the series, click here.

AT Jalpan, Father Serra worked for economic betterment, realizing that the more progressive it was, the more stable and beneficent would be his religious ministrations. The harvests each year under his administration were not only sufficient, but sometimes abundant.

The Indians were given their own parcels of land to produce...

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March 12, 2015
Bl. Junipero Serra: Sierra Gorda Missions
By Msgr. Francis J. Weber

Editor's note: This is part 7 of a series on the life of Bl. Junipero Serra in anticipation of his canonization. To read other articles in the series, click here.

AFTER some months of intensive missionary preparation at San Fernando, Serra and a number of other friars were appointed to the Sierra Gorda region of Mexico, located in the heart of the Sierra Madre Oriental. In that vast mountainous area lived the half-wild Pames Indians. The valleys there are few and small and the arable...

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March 09, 2015
Bl. Junipero Serra: Mexico City
By Msgr. Francis J. Weber

Editor's note: This is part 6 of a series on the life of Bl. Junipero Serra in anticipation of his canonization. To read other articles in the series, click here.

THE Camino Real which connected Vera Cruz with Mexico City stretched from sea level to an altitude of 7,382 feet, through tropical country, arid plains, high plateaus, across formidable sierras, in view of volcanoes and lakes, perennial snow and abundant sunshine.

Though horses were available for the journey, Fray Junípero...

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