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Celebrating canonization, traveling to see the pope

September 17, 2015
Valerie Schmalz

The excitement is building as the canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra and the visit of Pope Francis to the United States draws near.

The president of Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo will be attending the canonization Mass Sept. 23 at the National Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. At the high school the canonization will be live-streamed into the classrooms, said president Lars Lund. On Sept. 24, a Mass of the Holy Spirit will be held in honor of the canonization, celebrated by Franciscan Father Tommy King, pastor of St. Boniface Church – and a graduate of Serra, class of ’74.

The theology department is revamping its unit on Blessed Serra to incorporate his new status as an official saint of the church, said theology department chair Gary Meegan. Later in the semester, the school will install a time capsule to honor the new saint to be opened up Nov. 24, 2044, Blessed Serra’s 310th birthday and the centennial year of Serra High School, said Lund.

Archdiocesan Catholic Charities executive director Jeff Bialik and board president Simon Manning will be attending the canonization Mass, will be present at the White House when the pope visits the president and during his visits to Catholic Charities in Washington, D.C.

St. Peter pastor and vicar for Spanish speaking ministry Father Moises Agudo is leading a group of 150 pilgrims to Washington, D.C. for the Mass. The next day Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving in a chapel at the Basilica for the group, said one of the organizers, Rosario Haro.

A group of 17 seminarians from St. Patrick’s Seminary & University are traveling with archdiocesan vocations director Father David Schunk to the canonization and will be at the Mass with other seminarians from around the country. Old Mission Dolores curator Andrew Galvan will carry the reliquary into the Mass. His cousin, Vincent Medina, assistant curator at the mission will do the first reading at the canonization Mass in the Chechenyo language of their ancestors.

The seminary gala on Sept. 19 also will honor the Serra clubs of the area. Serra International is a lay apostolate to support priestly vocations, with more than 20,000 members in 40 countries.

In East Palo Alto, the Spanish Bible study group studied “Joy of the Gospel” to prepare for the pope’s visit, said St. Francis of Assisi pastor Father Lawrence Goode. Father Goode is going with a group to the canonization.

At St. Stephen Parish in San Francisco, pastor Father Paul Warren has been using the bulletins for the past five weeks to write about the papal encyclical “Laudato Si’”, as well as information about Pope Francis’=8 visit and information about the canonization of Blessed Serra, Father Warren said. St. Stephen parishioner and organizer of Simbang Gabi Christmas novena Nellie Hizon is attending the canonization with a group of Filipinos from the archdiocese.

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