Gratitude for a beloved saint’s return

Reading “Standing Up for Serra” in the March 8 issue brought me back to August 2020, when I watched the statue of our beloved St. Junípero Serra removed from in front of the Ventura City Hall under the cloak of darkness.  

I fell to my knees and wept for the tragic events that led to this, for the lies that were told about him, for the threatened violence by a small number of activists willing to vandalize and desecrate public property to advance their beliefs, and for the rising wave of anti-Christian rhetoric that was beginning to sweep our country. It felt so much like being present at the crucifixion and witnessing the suffering of an innocent and holy man.

But I was blessed to be there when the statue returned, in the light of day, to Ventura on Feb. 29 and was installed in the garden of Mission Basilica San Buenaventura.

As God can bring good out of the evil he permits, more people are aware of who Serra is. Today we can honor him and follow in his footsteps, continuing his mission to bring the good news to the people of California. Last year 300 people walked 35 miles over two days in the annual St. Junípero Serra Walking Pilgrimage, covering the Santa Barbara to Ventura Mission portion of the California Camino mission trail. Siempre Adelante!

— Greg Wood is the coordinator of the St. Serra Pilgrimage 

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