Archive for George Washington

Junipero Serra to be canonized during papal visit to US

Serra

Catholic News Agency:

In a surprise addition to his fall 2015 trip to the U.S., Pope Francis is planning to canonize the founder of California’s first missions, Bl. Junipero Serra.

“In September, God willing, I will canonize Junipero Serra in the United States,” declared Pope Francis aboard Sri Lankan Air Flight UL4111 on the way to Manila.

Bl. Serra, a Franciscan priest, lived in what is now California in the 1700s. A Spanish-born missionary, he founded the first nine of 21 eventual missions in California. He worked tirelessly with the Native Americans, and is said to have baptized more than 6,000 people, and confirmed 5,000.

“He was the evangelizer of the west in the United States,” Pope Francis beamed.

Bl. Serra’s canonization will be the latest in a systematic action from Pope Francis to give a boost to evangelization efforts throughout the world.

Serra will be the latest “equipollent” canonization – meaning no miracle was verified and the normal process was waived so that the Pope could declare him to be a saint.

Pope Francis will be in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families in September and may also be visiting Washington and New York. It is not known where the canonization would take place, but Serra is entombed at Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo in Carmel-by-the-Sea in California (Clint Eastwood was the town’s mayor at one point.)

During the American Revolution, Serra had a collection taken up in mission parishes and sent those funds to General George Washington.

Allegations by some that he mistreated native Americans were dismissed as unfounded during his beatification process. in fact, the truth was reported to be be very different:

Dr. Iris Engstrand, professor and chair of the Department of History at the University of San Diego, described him as “much nicer to the Indians, really, than even to the governors. He didn’t get along too well with some of the military people, you know. His attitude was, ‘Stay away from the Indians.’ I think you really come up with a benevolent, hard-working person who was strict in a lot of his doctrinal leanings and things like that, but not a person who was enslaving Indians, or beating them, ever….He was a very caring person and forgiving. Even after the burning of the mission in San Diego, he did not want those Indians punished. He wanted to be sure that they were treated fairly…”

Today is Washington’s Birthday NOT Presidents Day

gwashingtonOn the OPM website, there is a list of federal holidays as a reference for what days off federal employees will get.

For February 18, 2013, the holiday listed is Washington’s Birthday with an asterisk.

At the bottom of the page is this explanation:

* This holiday is designated as “Washington’s Birthday” in section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code, which is the law that specifies holidays for Federal employees. Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is our policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law.

Townhall, the Barbara Bush Foundation and the Cato Institute all refer to it as Presidents Day. The Heritage Foundation focuses on Washington but their blogger mistakenly thinks it’s Presidents Day apparently.

We need a resurgence of people referring to the holiday as its proper name. I don’t want a holiday that celebrates Presidents Carter, Obama, Clinton Harding, Grant, F.D. Roosevelt, and others I find not worthy of praise and I’m sure the same goes for everyone else (with a different list obviously.) Even if it is easier for people having mattress sales or people who want to include every worth president, it’s not the correct name.

If we’re only going to honor one President with a holiday in his name, then there is no one more fitting of that honor than George Washington.