|April 11, 2016 • VOL. 54, NO. 7 • Oakland, CA|
Pilgrims can walk in the footsteps of St. Junipero Serra
On Sept. 23, 2015, Pope Francis canonized St. Junipero Serra, founder of the California missions. This year, the Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs are honoring the occasion with two pilgrimages in the footsteps of St. Junipero.
Galvan, who is an Ohlone with roots at Mission Dolores and Mission San Jose in Fremont, presented the relic of St. Junipero Serra at the canonization Mass in Washington, DC, last fall. His work on the cause for Serra's canonization spanned more than 30 years.
Galvan says of St. Junipero, "I know him. I read him. I pray to him. I understand him."
He understands, too, the cultural issues regarding the native people, whose stories will also be a part of the pilgrims' journey. St. Junipero, he said, showed "a genuine concern for my ancestors."
Consider a pilgrimage, as Galvan suggests, as "a rolling retreat."
"On the pilgrimage, at each mission we focus on the saint at that mission," Galvan said. "We talk about historically the native people at that place, and the history of the mission, and then we bring in Junipero Serra as the founder."
Galvan said he has been working his way through "Junipero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary," by Rose Marie Beebe and Robert Senkewicz, "to be able to have ready readings of the writings of Junipero Serra at that particular place."
The Franciscan, Galvan said, "at all the missions kept a very good diary."
"We put Serra in the context of setting up this mission, what he saw there, what he desired or wanted to have happen there," Galvan said.
But missions do not belong solely to history. "We talk about what's going on currently at the mission," said Galvan, who was commissioned last fall by the California Catholic bishops and the Franciscan Province of St. Barbara to lead a cultural study of the missions. This includes a review of displays and signage, and updating artwork and presentations on mission sites and materials.
This is the 10th year Galvan has led Franciscan pilgrimages to the California missions.
The pilgrimage begins in Los Angeles, and pilgrims will have accommodations on their journey at the Mary and Joseph Retreat Center in Rancho Palos Verdes, the St. Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista and the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville.
Masses will be celebrated along the way, including in the chapel at San Juan Capistrano Mission, the only remaining chapel in which St. Junipero himself celebrated Mass, and at the saint's tomb at San Carlos Borromeo Mission in Carmel.
For information on the pilgrimage to the California missions, contact www.franciscanpilgrimages.com or dial 414-427-0570.
Photographs by Craig Alan Huber
Essays by Robert M. Senkewicz
Veritas Editions, $75
Armed with a large-format view camera, photographer Craig Alan Huber set out on a journey that in many ways mimics that of his subject himself. To capture the exquisitely detailed black-and-white images that grace the pages of "The Spirit of St. Junipero," the photographer traveled to Junipero Serra's homeland of Mallorca, Spain; Mexico, where he served in established missions; and California, where the middle-aged friar's quest to preach the Gospel to the unbaptized was realized.
Huber's photographs are complemented by equally elegant essays by Santa Clara University's Robert M. Senkewicz, professor of history. The quotes in his essays are attributed to "Junipero Serra: California, Indians and the Transformation of a Missionary," which Senkewicz wrote with Rose Marie Beebe.
"The book moves beyond the controversy to celebrate what we can all enjoy about the California Missions," said Jeffrey Burns, director of the Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture at the University of San Diego. Burns was ordained a deacon in the Diocese of Oakland in 2003 and last served at St. Lawrence O'Toole-St. Cyril Parish in Oakland.
— Michele Jurich
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