Bulletin Columns Catholic Church Religious Liberty

IWKnights Corner For May 16, 2021
(Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord)

Did you know this about the IW Knights of Columbus?

St. Junípero Serra
St. Junípero Serra

St. Junípero Serra fought to protect my ancestors — and bring them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”  This is a quote from a recently published article at KofC.org. The author of the article is Andrew A. Galvan, a descendant of the Ohlone, Bay Miwok, Plains Miwok and Patwin Indians.  He is the curator at Mission Dolores in San Francisco.

You may recall the series of desecrations of St Junipero Serra statues last year in several California cities.  As a response to those events, the Knights of Columbus produced a video (link at bottom of the page) about the missionary life of St Junipero.  Mr Galvan has written the following article entitled Why Father Serra is a Saint.

“Junípero Serra did not become a saint because he founded missions in California.  He was named a saint because he lived a holy life, and he did so while stuck in a corrupt institution known as Spanish colonialism.

To get a true sense of Father Serra, I always tell people to go back to his writings and see how he described the Indians.  He was in love with the native peoples; there’s no other way to put it.  And he saw the faith as the greatest good he could give them.

Serra fought to protect my ancestors from the military governors.  Four military presidios had missions attached to them — Santa Barbara, San Diego, Monterey and San Francisco — and if you look at the map, the presidios are 4 or 5 miles away from the missions.  That was by Serra’s design to protect the native women from the military men who were violating them.

Father Serra also advocated for self-rule at the missions.  He established what was known as the alcalde role: He would have the native peoples select their own mayor from among their population, to negotiate with the padres and with the military leaders [about] what would happen to the native peoples as a community.  That was unheard of in other parts of the continent at that time.  At the time of Serra’s death, the Carmel Indians were weeping because they knew they were losing their protector, and he was remembered as ‘el santo’ — the saint.

So, when people accuse Father Serra of all kinds of horrors, I ask them, ‘What are your sources?  Have you read how he described the Indians of California?’  Some wonderful biographies were written just before Father Serra’s canonization based on new scholarship, which is not romantic but simply tells the truth about Junípero Serra.

If Fr. Serra could visit the missions today, he would be out there ringing that same old bell, begging the Indians to come to receive the message of Jesus. This is the opportunity of every CA mission today to ring the bells and invite the native people in.”

You can link to the full article and video presented above via one of the following sites.  Also, find more about the Knights of Columbus at  IWKnights9981.com/bulletin or on facebook.com/IWknights9981 and NOW on Twitter at twitter.com/IwKnights.

Links Related to this week’s column:

In this documentary, learn about Father Serra’s heroic missionary activity to Indigenous peoples in 18th-century North America..
By Knights of Columbus 
Click here for Documentary
Prayer for Protection in Time of Pandemic
A Novena which seeks Our Lady’s Intercession for Protection in Time of Pandemic
By His Holiness, Pope Francis (3/2020)
Click here for the Prayer

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We would like to talk with you about becoming an IW Knight.  Please visit us on-line at our web site at www.IWknights9981.com/AboutUs.  Or call Rob Schultz at: (314) 973-2373.

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