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Pope Francis Tells American Seminary Blessed Junipero Serra Is One of America’s “Founding Fathers”

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Diane Montagna - published on 05/05/15

Thirdly, brothers and sisters, let us contemplate the witness of holiness given by Friar Junípero.  He was one of the founding fathers of the United States, a saintly example of the Church’s universality and special patron of the Hispanic people of the country. In this way may all Americans rediscover their own dignity, and unite themselves ever more closely to Christ and his Church.

With the universal communion of saints and, in particular, with the assembly of American saints, may Friar Junípero Serra accompany us and intercede for us, along with the many other holy men and women who have distinguished themselves through their various charisms:

  • contemplatives like Rose of Lima, Mariana of Quito and Teresita de los Andes;
  • pastors who bear the scent of Christ and of his sheep, such as Toribio de Mogrovejo, Francois de Laval, and Rafael Guizar Valencia;
  • humble workers in the vineyard of the Lord, like Juan Diego and Kateri Tekakwitha;
  • servants of the suffering and the marginalized, like Peter Claver, Martín de Porres, Damian of Molokai, Alberto Hurtado and Rose Philippine Duchesne;
  • founders of communities consecrated to the service of God and of the poorest, like Frances Cabrini, Elizabeth Ann Seton and Katharine Drexel;
  • tireless missionaries, such as Friar Francisco Solano, José de Anchieta, Alonso de Barzana, Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa and Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero;
  • martyrs like Roque Gonzalez, Miguel Pro and Oscar Arnulfo Romero; and so many other saints and martyrs, whom I do not mention here, but who pray before the Lord for their brothers and sisters who are still pilgrims in those lands.

May a powerful gust of holiness sweep through all the Americas during the coming Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy! Confident in Jesus’ promise, which we heard today in the Gospel, we ask God for this special outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

We ask the Risen Jesus, Lord of all ages, that the life of our American continent may be rooted ever more deeply in the Gospel it has received; that Christ may be ever more present in the lives of individuals, families, peoples and nations, for the greater glory of God.  We pray too that this glory may be manifested in the culture of life, brotherhood, solidarity, peace and justice, with a preferential and concrete love for the poor, through the witness of Christians of various confessions and communities, together with believers of other religious traditions, and people of upright conscience and good will. Lord Jesus, we are merely your missionary disciples, your humble co-workers so that your Kingdom may come!

With this heartfelt prayer, I ask Our Lady of Guadalupe, Friar Junípero and all the American saints to lead me and guide me during my approaching apostolic journeys to South America and North America. I ask all of you to keep this intention in your prayers, and to continue to pray for me. Amen.

Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.

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