Coat of arms of Donald Wuerl


Cardinal Wuerl Speaks on Serra's Significant Role in Life of America

Ahead of Blessed’s Canonization Taking Place in His Diocese in September, Washington DC’s Cardinal Speaks on Setting Record Straight

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Ahead of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to the United States in September, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington DC, says that “to hear the true story of Junipero Serra is a blessing.”

Cardinal Wuerl spoke to ZENIT on the impact of the evangelist to the Americas, Blessed Junipero Serra, this Saturday at Rome’s Pontifical North American College, where a day of reflection was held on the life of the missionary.

Junipero Serra, often termed ‘the Apostle of California,’ will be canonized this September in Washington, D.C. at the Basilica of theNational Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on September 23rd. 

“We are here today to recognize the role of Junipero Serra and in anticipation of his canonization,” Cardinal Wuerl reflected.

“This is going to be the first time in the history of the Church in the United States that a saint will be canonized, will be ‘raised to the altar’ as we say, here in the United States,” he said.

“What makes this day so special, of course, is the visit of Pope Francis for the first time to the Pontifical North American College and the opportunity we have to celebrate Mass with him.”

“The program,” the Cardinal said, “highlights the significant role of Junipero Serra in the life of our country. Today, particularly, we need to recognize the important and positive impact he had.”

“The only thing that makes the day more joyful,” he noted, “will be the celebration of Mass here with the Pope.”

Reflecting on the interventions themselves, the American cardinal said he was really taken by the intervention Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus, particularly “on the contrast between what happened with the Spaniards and Junipero Serra and the indigenous people, of whom there are many left today, and other parts of the New World where there are no survivors left.”

“That was a very powerful statement,” he said.



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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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