Los Angeles, Calif., Jul 2, 2021 / 15:01 pm
The early Catholic missionaries to what became the United States were witnesses to the American belief that all persons have rights to life and liberty, Archbishop Jose Gomez wrote on Friday.
“Beginning in the 1500s, missionaries from Spain were proclaiming the love of Jesus Christ to indigenous peoples from present-day Georgia and Florida to Texas and lower California. French missionaries were consecrating the lands from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico to the Virgin Mary,” the Archbishop of Los Angeles wrote in his July 2 column at Angelus.
“It is true, these missionaries had no hand in developing America’s founding documents or institutions. But their mission gives witness to the authentic American spirit that runs through our history and finds expression in the ‘letter’ of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.”
He reflected there is a fittingness to celebrating the memorial of St. Junipero Serra three days before Independence Day “because St. Junípero was not only the Apostle to California, he was also one of America’s founding fathers.”