Saint Junipero Serra was born on November 24, 1713 on an island in Spain. Most of his childhood was spent in a classroom, first as a student of theology and then a professor. When he turned 35, Saint Junipero Serra gave it all up and then followed his desire to work as a missionary and convert people. Serra went to Vera Cruz, Mexico and worked there for 18 years to convert native peoples. He went to Mexico City to settle his differences with a military commander. During his time in Mexico, he was in danger most of the time due to military commanders, non-Christian native peoples and even a bite he received from an insect that would be sometimes life-threatening. Saint Junipero Serra dealt with a lot of pain and suffering. However, even through all of this, he managed to baptize 6,000 people in his life. Junipero Serra passed away from tuberculosis on August 28, 1784. During his lifetime, Serra founded 8 missionaries and 12 more were founded after his death. Junipero Serra always had the motto to always go forward and never back and the word zeal described him best. He is the patron saint of vocations to the Church ministry.
O God, in Your ineffable mercy, You chose Saint Junípero Serra as a means of gathering many peoples of the Americas into Your Church. Grant that through his intercession our hearts may be united in You in ever greater love, so that at all times and in all places we may show forth the image of Your Only-Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
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