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    Posted July 8, 2015 by
    San Juan Bautista, California

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    Native Americans Protest Pope, in San Juan Bautista, canonize Father Junipero Serra.

    Native Americans will be gathering in San Juan Bautista this weekend to pray that Pope Francis reverses his decision to canonize Father Junipero Serra.
    The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band is hosting the ceremony from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday on the grass in front of the San Juan Bautista Mission.

    Speakers will address the “brutality of the mission system”—of which Serra was a leader—and its “legacy of historic trauma that continues today,” according to a flyer for the event.

    “How can the church consider making him a saint based on the treatment of the California Indians?” Valentin Lopez, the chairperson of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, told the Free Lance earlier this year. “It just does not make any sense at all to us.”

    But Deacon William Ditewig, the director of the Diocese of Monterey—which includes the San Juan Bautista mission—added the context of the Pope’s declaration is important and that saints don’t need to be perfect; they just need to have some qualities worth imitating.
    The deacon added that when the pope originally suggested Serra for sainthood, he was flying out of Sri Lanka where he had just declared another priest for canonization who left home to spread the Gospel, just as Serra did.

    This is a drug- and alcohol-free event. Attendees are asked to not wear gold unless it is part of a wedding ring, according to the event flyer. Those planning to be present at the event are advised to bring lawn chairs, sunscreen and water.
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