An image of Pope Francis hangs from the bell tower of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington Sept. 20 (CNS photo/Bob Roller).

Canonization Mass for Junípero Serra

The canonization Mass for Junípero Serra began at 4:15 p.m. today at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Follow @americamag on Twitter for pictures and updates from Associate Editor Ashley McKinless at the Mass.

Watch the live feed provided by the Vatican:

Watch Ashley McKinless’s report from outside the Basilica:

Read the homily delivered by Pope Francis.

Or read some of our articles on the topic.

In “The Disputed Canonization of Junipero Serra,” by Fr. Russell Brown, the pastor of Mission San Luis Obispo, one of the missions founded by Serra, writes:

There is a widely shared sentiment among many, indigenous voices as well as others, that Serra in certain ways contributed to the tremendous suffering that fell upon the California tribes and the First Nation people in general throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. And there is no question that the history of the native peoples of California ended in one of the greatest human tragedies imaginable.

There is also a romanticized view of Father Serra that portrays him without blemish and neglects the profound impact European empire was certain to have on the function and psyche of a premodern culture. Awareness of such impact is part of a global awakening that has been critically embraced only over the past century. To a great extent, myth about Serra, both positive and critical, defines his legacy. The truth of the matter lies somewhere in the middle and still struggles to find a hearing. For some he is a symbol of lasting injury. Supporters of Serra’s cause argue that it is unfair to judge him for events beyond his influence and historical reach.

Fr. Jim McDermott, S.J., offers tips for talking about the canonization.

“A Not Perfect Saint”: Kevin Starr reviews a new biography of Serra.