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Junipero Father Serra

December 19, 1987 | MARK I. PINSKY, Times Staff Writer
When Father Junipero Serra died at the Carmel Mission in 1784, his reputation for saintliness was so great that guards had to be posted at his open casket to keep people from cutting locks of his hair and pieces of his Franciscan habit to use as religious relics. The physician who cared for Serra in his last hours, Dr. Juan Garcia, asked Serra's good friend and biographer, Father Francisco Palou, for a square of material from the dead priest's robe.
May 30, 1998 | ERIC RIMBERT
A life-size bronze statue of Father Junipero Serra, the "father of the California missions," was dedicated Friday at Casa de Lopez. Msgr. Francis J. Weber, curator of the San Fernando Mission, said a prayer and blessed the statue, sprinkling the figure with holy water. "May this figure bring inspiration to all who see it," Weber said. Serra was selected by the king of Spain to erect missions in California as a way to claim territory along California's coast.
March 18, 1989 | MARK I. PINSKY and LUCILLE RENWICK, Times Staff Writers
More than 10,000 people are expected for the traditional return of the swallows to Mission San Juan Capistrano on Sunday, with special festivities scheduled this year celebrating the historic ministry of Father Junipero Serra. On Sunday, St. Joseph's Day, the official welcoming of the swallows will take place between 6 and 8 a.m. at the mission, at Ortega Highway and Camino Capistrano.
The history lesson was well known to generations of California schoolchildren: Father Junipero Serra and his Franciscan disciples converted Indians from heathen savages into God-fearing Christians, filling their bellies with meat, their souls with enlightenment. "The Indians had the feeling of being part of something much bigger than the old Indian village," wrote the authors of a standard 1965 textbook. "On the whole, they must have felt better off than before."
September 27, 1988
Vandals in San Diego protested the beatification of Father Junipero Serra by spray-painting a museum and dripping red paint onto a nearby statue of the Franciscan monk. The Presidio Park museum and grounds were defaced the same day that Serra was beatified at the Vatican, a Roman Catholic religious procedure that precedes sainthood.
May 4, 1988 | MARK I. PINSKY, Times Staff Writer
Father Junipero Serra, the 18th-Century Franciscan missionary known as the "Apostle of California," will be beatified Sept. 25 in a colorful ceremony in Rome, a Vatican official said Tuesday. Pope John Paul II will celebrate a Mass, during which Serra will be elevated to the second of three steps to sainthood, said Msgr. Robert Sarno, an American priest assigned to the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
August 11, 1987 | IMBERT MATTHEE, Times Staff Writer
Monterey Diocese officials Monday said they were disappointed that the beatification of Father Junipero Serra will not take place during Pope John Paul II's U.S. visit next month. At the same time, they acknowledged that they would have had to rush to fully prepare for a beatification service Sept. 17 at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey. "Everyone here was surprised and disappointed," said Monterey Diocese spokesman Ted Elisee.
Father Noel Francis Moholy was deep in conversation in a small chapel on the grounds of the Santa Barbara mission. Moholy comes here often to talk to his soul-mate and alter ego--Father Junipero Serra, the Franciscan friar and founder of the Catholic mission system of California. Of course, the friar has been dead since 1784, but that hardly lessens the intensity of Moholy's interaction with Serra.
October 25, 1995 | FRANK MANNING
On command, boys and girls in parochial school white and blue began filing across the schoolyard to the folding chairs arranged in neat rows. They took their seats in silence, as the soft, melodic strains of Antonin Dvorak's "Symphony of the New World" wafted through the warm autumn sunlight. The occasion was a dedication Tuesday of a statue of Father Junipero Serra, a gift to St. Bernardine of Siena Catholic School in Woodland Hills.
June 23, 1994 | FRANK MESSINA
He gazes into the distance, this life-size bronze statue of Mission San Juan Capistrano founder Father Junipero Serra, dedicated this week at the mission church. What he might be seeing is the future, which holds another 20 bronze replicas of the Catholic priest, and would bring to 50 the number of Serra statues donated by multimillionaire developer William Hannon.
June 27, 1992 | Associated Press
A priest who has worked for decades to persuade the Roman Catholic Church to make Father Junipero Serra a saint believes he has found a medical miracle that could canonize the founder of California's missions. But a scoliosis specialist said Thursday that he doubts Mary Schlientz was miraculously cured of curvature of the spine. And one of her doctors thinks modern medicine was more responsible than prayers to Father Serra.
Few may know it, but historians, viniculturists and connoisseurs say that this historic mission town was the center of winemaking in California long before Napa Valley. Father Junipero Serra, the spiritual leader of the Portola expedition that founded the missions, nurtured European grapes that made the state's first wine in the 1780s. The finished product was used for Communion and barter.
July 29, 1987 | MARK I. PINSKY, Times Staff Writer
Pope John Paul II will decide soon whether to approve beatification, the second of three steps to sainthood, for Father Junipero Serra, according to Father Noel Francis Moholy, Serra's principal church advocate in the United States. Medical and theological panels at the Vatican decided earlier this month that a St. Louis nun was cured of a serious ailment 27 years ago as a result of praying to Serra for divine intercession, Moholy said.
February 17, 1990 | From United Press International
Tiny bone fragments from the body of Father Junipero Serra, the 18th-Century founder of California missions proposed for sainthood, are being offered in 500 encapsulated containers for $25 to $250 each. Father Noel Francis Moholy, the Franciscan friar who has campaigned for Serra's sainthood for 40 years, said the relics are not for sale but available for donations. He said the relics are similar "to having a picture of your mother or a piece of her jewelry after she has died.
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