Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore J. Cordileone expressed his appreciation Thursday of Pope Francis' decision to name Junipero Serra, one of the founders of present-day California, a Roman Catholic saint.
“We are all elated at the news of the canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra,” Cordileone said in a video statement released by the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Serra, born on the island of Majorca off the coast of Spain in 1713, founded 21 missions in California, including Mission Dolores, which today is considered both the oldest original intact mission in California and one of the oldest buildings in San Francisco.
Cordileone said the canonization of Serra hits a personal note with The City's highest ranking Catholic representative, who grew up three miles from the first of Serra's 21 missions in Alta, Calif.
“With the Franciscan missionaries and a Franciscan connection, we are very grateful to Pope Francis,” Cordileone said.
The archbishop continued, “We pray that the blessings that will come from this act of recognition of his great sanctity, his heroic virtue, using his tremendous gifts of intellect, of strength, or perseverance and of endurance of trials that we all might be blessed likewise to imitate those great heroic virtues for the good of the gospel of Jesus Christ here in California.”