Saint Junipero Serra (1713-1784)

for July 1

Junipero Serra was born in Majorca, Spain, in 1713, and was ordained a Franciscan priest in 1737. He spent most of his priestly life as a missionary in Mexico, Texas, and California. During his ministry Father Serra is believed to have baptized nearly six thousand people. He also established several missions up and down the coast of California and was an important figure in the founding of our country. Father Serra was always known for his respect and kind treatment of the Native American people, even in a time when other missionaries may not have been so caring. He believed all people were equal, and he helped fight for their rights as children of God. Known as a gifted evangelizer, Father Serra was a key figure in helping spread the faith in the New World. He worked tirelessly in sharing the love of God with all he met. California still honors him as an important historical figure. Pope John Paul II beatified Father Serra in 1988, calling him an "exemplary model of the selfless evangelizer." Father Serra was canonized by Pope Francis in 2015 during a visit to the United States. The Serra Club, an organization that exists to promote vocations to the priesthood, is named for Father Serra. Junipero Serra is the patron of vocations. We celebrate his feast day on July 1. (Taken from "The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth: Third Edition")

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Jesus announces his mission in a way that inspires us to follow his example. When we look around, we see physically poor people who have no food and shelter, and spiritually poor people who have no faith. We see captives of abuse, self-hatred, and addiction. We know that there are visually blind people and others who refuse to see the beauty of life. The oppressed may be modern-day slaves or victims of bullying. Whatever we see, when we hear Jesus’ mission we must ask ourselves: What am I doing to help others? How can I be like Jesus right here and right now? (Taken from "By My Side: A Teen Prayer Companion")


Jesus, my brother, may I follow your lead and help others in need. (Taken from "By My Side: A Teen Prayer Companion")