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Special Feature
The Beatification of Pope John Paul II
  • New Pope Greets Church

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    Karol Wojtyla waves to waiting crowds in St. Peter's Square after being elected pope Oct. 16, 1978. (CNS file photo)

    Orange Fish
  • Pope in Popemobile

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    Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger ride in the popemobile during the late pontiff's visit to Germany in November 1980. (CNS from KNA)

    The Beatification of Pope John Paul II
  • Pope with Assailant

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    Pope John Paul II visits with his assailant, Mehmet Ali Agca. in a Rome prison Dec. 27, 1983. (CNS file photo by Arturo Mari)

    The Beatification of Pope John Paul II
  • Pope in Assisi

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    Pope John Paul II attends an interreligious ecounter in Assisi, Italy, in 1986. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

    The Beatification of Pope John Paul II
  • Pope in Denver

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    Pope John Paul II is pictured in a 1993 photo during World Youth Day in Denver. (CNS photo/Joe Rimkus Jr.)

    The Beatification of Pope John Paul II
  • Pope and Mother Teresa Meet

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    Pope John Paul II greets Mother Teresa of Calcutta at the Vatican in June 1997. (CNS file photo by Arturo Mari)

    The Beatification of Pope John Paul II
  • Pope at the Holy Door

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    Pope John Paul II kneels at the open Holy Door before shutting the large bronze door in St. Peter's Basilica Jan. 6.

    The Beatification of Pope John Paul II
  • Pope at Wailing Wall

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    Pope John Paul II places a prayer in a crevice of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, March 26, 2000. (CNS file photo by Arturo Mari)

    The Beatification of Pope John Paul II
  • Pope Prays Rosary

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    John Paul II prays the rosary Oct. 7, 2003, at the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Holy Rosary in the center of Pompeii, Italy. (CNS photo from Reuters)

    The Beatification of Pope John Paul II
  • Pope Prays

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    Pope John Paul II prays during a ceremony marking the opening of the Year of the Eucharist in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican Oct. 17, 2004. (CNS photo from Reuters)

    The Beatification of Pope John Paul II
  • Pope Blesses Crowd

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    Pope John Paul II blesses the crowd from his apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in 2005. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

    The Beatification of Pope John Paul II
  • Tomb of Pope

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    Pope John Paul II's tomb is pictured in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in this Nov. 18, 2010, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

    The Beatification of Pope John Paul II

Follow the links below for more on Blessed John Paul II.

Blessed John Paul II: Witness to Hope
from St. Anthony Messenger

Video Reflections on Blessed John Paul II's Impact

Coverage of the Beatification of John Paul II from Catholic News Service

Saint of the Day Pope John Paul II entry

From Our Archives

Share your own reflections on what John Paul II has meant to you. Please note that editors will review all posts before they are visible on the website.

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Junipero Serra: In 1776, when the American Revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California. That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows. San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under the direction of this indomitable Spaniard. 
<p>Born on Spain’s island of Mallorca, Serra entered the Franciscan Order, taking the name of St. Francis’ childlike companion, Brother Juniper. Until he was 35, he spent most of his time in the classroom—first as a student of theology and then as a professor. He also became famous for his preaching. Suddenly he gave it all up and followed the yearning that had begun years before when he heard about the missionary work of St. Francis Solanus in South America. Junipero’s desire was to convert native peoples in the New World. </p><p>Arriving by ship at Vera Cruz, Mexico, he and a companion walked the 250 miles to Mexico City. On the way Junipero’s left leg became infected by an insect bite and would remain a cross—sometimes life-threatening—for the rest of his life. For 18 years he worked in central Mexico and in the Baja Peninsula. He became president of the missions there. </p><p>Enter politics: the threat of a Russian invasion south from Alaska. Charles III of Spain ordered an expedition to beat Russia to the territory. So the last two <i>conquistadors</i>—one military, one spiritual—began their quest. José de Galvez persuaded Junipero to set out with him for present-day Monterey, California. The first mission founded after the 900-mile journey north was San Diego (1769). That year a shortage of food almost canceled the expedition. Vowing to stay with the local people, Junipero and another friar began a novena in preparation for St. Joseph’s day, March 19, the scheduled day of departure. On that day, the relief ship arrived. </p><p>Other missions followed: Monterey/Carmel (1770); San Antonio and San Gabriel (1771); San Luís Obispo (1772); San Francisco and San Juan Capistrano (1776); Santa Clara (1777); San Buenaventura (1782). Twelve more were founded after Serra’s death. </p><p>Junipero made the long trip to Mexico City to settle great differences with the military commander. He arrived at the point of death. The outcome was substantially what Junipero sought: the famous “Regulation” protecting the Indians and the missions. It was the basis for the first significant legislation in California, a “Bill of Rights” for Native Americans. </p><p>Because the Native Americans were living a nonhuman life from the Spanish point of view, the friars were made their legal guardians. The Native Americans were kept at the mission after Baptism lest they be corrupted in their former haunts—a move that has brought cries of “injustice” from some moderns. </p><p>Junipero’s missionary life was a long battle with cold and hunger, with unsympathetic military commanders and even with danger of death from non-Christian native peoples. Through it all his unquenchable zeal was fed by prayer each night, often from midnight till dawn. He baptized over 6,000 people and confirmed 5,000. His travels would have circled the globe. He brought the Native Americans not only the gift of faith but also a decent standard of living. He won their love, as witnessed especially by their grief at his death. He is buried at Mission San Carlo Borromeo, Carmel, and was beatified in 1988.</p> American Catholic Blog God is great. God is good. And God, in his fatherly love, has a plan for our lives that will work out for our benefit and salvation. All we have to do is trust and obey.

Oasis Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends

 
CATHOLIC GREETINGS
Blessed Junipero Serra
This Franciscan friar was instrumental in founding many of California’s mission churches.

Happy Birthday
May this birthday mark the beginning of new and exciting adventures!

Sts. Peter and Paul
Honored both separately and together, these apostles were probably martyred during the reign of the emperor Nero.

Wedding
Help the bride and groom see their love as a mirror of God’s love.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help
God gave Mary to us as a help in our quest for holiness.




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