Last week I posted an entry concerning the Holy Father’s announcement (aboard the papal plane from Sri Lanka to the Philippines) that during his visit to the United States in September, he intends to canonize Bl. Junipero Serra, father of the California missions.
I speculated that this announcement could be a signal that perhaps Pope Francis would visit California during the same trip. But aboard the papal plane from the Philippines to Rome the Holy Father stated that the canonization would occur in Washington, D.C.. He said it would take an additional two days to go to California for the canonization. So?
It doesn’t make any sense. Sure, Washington D.C. is the nation’s capital, and California is now a part of the territorial U.S., but that is the complete extent of the connection between the District of Columbia and Bl. Junipero. Bl. Junipero is buried in California. His legacy is in California. Culturally, his connection is to Spain, Mexico, and California — not the East Coast United States.
When Bl. Junipero established the missions, he (to my knowledge) never traveled along the East Coast. He never visited Washington D.C., or Philadelphia, or New York. He traveled from Spain to Mexico, and then traveled from Mexico north to California.
I can’t even see the point of a canonization in Washington, D.C. It would be better (as the Holy Father indicates in the article linked above) to wait for a forthcoming trip to Mexico, and to do the canonization in Mexico City, where Bl. Junipero actually visited and made contact.
I really hope that this decision is reconsidered. The canonization would be far more significant if it took place in: Rome, Spain, Mexico, or California. A canonization in Washington, D.C. might as well be Toronto, or Detroit, or Tokyo.