Photo accrediation: Ken Kistler
When I was 8, we had a project, in school, in which we were to describe something about, the now, Saint Junipero Serra. Of course we had learned the story of the missions he had established to bring the native American population to Jesus, all along the coast of California. He risked life and limb to bring as many converts into the Catholic Church. Today, September 23, 2015, Blessed Junipero Serra became Saint Junipero Serra by Pope Francis as he visits our country!
Saint Junipero Serra!
At the time, our new saint was simply known as Father Junipero Serra.
To enrich our studies of this holy man and the missions he established, my godparents took me to the San Jaun Capistrono Mission. The wonder of this mission is that every year, the birds return on the same day, every year. We weren’t there when the birds returned, but that was all right.
I saw the mission made of mud bricks. I touched the dirt under my fingers. I heard a group of people under a tree reciting the Rosary. I smelled the dirt covered with a few drops of rain. Don’t tell anyone, but when my godparents weren’t looking, I actually licked the bricks. It was a very tactile experience.
So, when Sister assigned us the study of the mission, I was way ahead. Not everyone in my class had been able to go to a real mission. That’s when, two days before the due date, I decided not to write a report, but I was going to carve a mission for my project. And, I did! I only wish I had a picture of that soap carving. Yes, I used a dull butter knife and a bar of ivory soap. I was left to my own resources. After an hour, I had my mission made.
My mother looked at my sculpture, and said, “That’s, um, very nice,”
I was very proud of it! I broke a couple of toothpicks into pieces, and I made my crosses for mission sculpture.
Of course, there were better projects made better than mine. When I turned in my mission, Sister just smiled. “I can tell you didn’t get any help, did you?” Proudly, I answered, “I did it all by myself!” “I can tell,” she said. Then, she asked me a few questions about Father Serra. She smiled when I answered. When we had the test, I got an A. Yes! My project earned me a B+, but when combined with the grade from my project, I ended up with an A-! I was pleased.
Today, Father Serra became a saint. May we all be blessed to become saints.
On this your day of cannonization, we ask for your intercession. Please, since you are so close Jesus, we ask you to interceede for us in this our special intention. _______________________________ Thank you, dearest Saint.