Fr. Junipero Serra was a Roman Catholic Spanish priest and friar of the Franciscan Order who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, in what was then Alta California in the Province of Las Californias, New Spain. Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988, in Vatican City. Pope Francis canonised him on September 23, 2015, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., during his first visit to the United States. Because of Serra’s recorded acts of piety combined with his missionary efforts, he was granted the posthumous title Apostle of California.
He is patron saint of vocations to Church ministry, and played an instrumental role in building the Church on the west coast of America when that area was still mission territory.
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