Roundup: May 11, 2016
Almansor Court – 700 S. Almansor, Alhambra, CA
Social Hour: 5:00 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM
Our Speaker: Msgr. Francis J. Weber
His Subject: “Junipero Serra Appears on a U.S. Postage Stamp: How it Happened”
Junipero Serra (1713-1784) was among the most prominent of the Friars who established the California Missions. Equally famous as a “founding father” of Spanish California, his name is synonymous with dedication and self-sacrifice. The movement to make him a Saint began more than hundred years ago. Foremost amongst supporters for Father Serra’s canonization has been Monsignor Francis J. Weber. Many times it seemed that Serra would never receive this honor, nor be nationally recognized for his contributions to California. Yet Fray Junipero Serra was made a Saint in 2015 by Pope Francis, in Washington, D.C. Absolutely unique, Serra is the first to be canonized in the New World itself. Father Serra also stands in the Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol, representing the State of California along with Ronald Reagan. Our newest Saint is in good company, alongside Fray Eusebio Kino (for Arizona), Father Marquette (for Wisconsin) and Father Damien (for Hawaii). And, after earlier appearances on Spanish and Mexican stamps, Serra’s face now graces a United States postage stamp. At our May, 2016, Los Angeles Corral Roundup, Monsignor Francis J. Weber will tell us how this remarkable event came to be.
Monsignor Francis J. Weber, known to his many friends and admirers as “the Old Country Priest” is Archivist Emeritus of the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Ordained in 1959, since then he has celebrated mass at a great many California locations, including Santa Cruz Island, and been a tireless and effective spiritual and intellectual leader at San Fernando Mission. Here, in 1980, his dream of building an archival center came true. Msgr. Weber, in addition to his many local duties, serves as an Honorary Chaplain to His Holiness Pope Francis. One of the most active of all members of the Los Angeles Corral of Westerners, Weber served as Sheriff in 1995. A frequent contributor to our corral publications, he has also published on Spanish Colonial history, ecclesiastical history, and the history of California and the West, including: The California Missions as Others Saw Them, 1786-1842 (1972), A Select Bibliography of California Catholic Literature, 1856-1974 (1974), The Life and Times of Fray Junipero Serra (1987), The Mission in the Valley: A Documentary History of San Fernando, Rey de Espana (1987), Century of Fulfillment: The Roman Catholic Church in Southern California 1840-1947 (1990), Prominent Visitors to the California Missions, 1746-1842 (1991), Memories of an Old Mission: San Fernando, Rey de Espana (1997), The Literary High Spots of Mission Hills, California (1998), Encyclopedia of California’s Catholic Heritage, 1769-1999 (2000), Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (2004), The California Missions (2005), Catholic Heroes of Southern California (2007), Blessed Fray Junipero Serra: An Outstanding California Hero (2008) and More Memories of an Old Country Priest (2011), to name just a few.
Brian Dervin Dillon, Ph.D.