Serra Club watches live feed of canonization Mass

Members of the Serra Club watch the live feed of the canonization of St. Junipero Serra.

Members of the Serra Club watch the live feed of the canonization of St. Junipero Serra.

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

The motto of the recently canonized St. Junípero Serra, an 18th century Franciscan missionary, is “Always forward, never back.”

The local chapter of Serra Club International, named for the new saint, relies on that motto today in its work to promote religious vocations.

“Being a Catholic back then, as well as today, takes a lot of work,” Bob Hublar, president of the Serra Club of Louisville, said last week during a viewing party for the Sept. 23 canonization. “We have, as he had, trials and tribulations today similar to what he found in his missionary work.”

But St. Junípero kept moving forward, Hublar said.

He and about a dozen members of the Serra Club gathered in the Cathedral Undercroft to watch Pope Francis canonize the saint via a live feed. The canonization, the first to take place in the United States, happened at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Conventual Franciscan Friar John Bamman

Conventual Franciscan Friar John Bamman

Conventual Franciscan Friar John Bamman, vocation director for the Conventual Franciscans in Mt. St. Francis, Ind., said St. Junípero had a “deep desire to save souls.”

“He went out to the margins to do missionary activities, to spread the Gospel, to invite people to be baptized, to invite them into eternal life,” Friar Bamman said.

St. Junípero was not “morally flawless,” noted Friar Bamman, who is also in residence at St. Paul Church. “He was human just like you and I. And he made his mistakes along the way. He wasn’t perfect by any measure … that gives us all hope. … We also have this heroic call to become a saint just like Junípero Serra.”

Chuck Lynch, Serra Club program director, said the canonization sends an important message.

“I think it’s a great sign to a lot of Hispanic people and to all of U.S. Catholics because it’s taking place on U.S. soil,” he said.

Each year the Serra Club sponsors a number of activities and events for priests, religious and seminarians, including:

  •  a Christmas party for retired nuns
  • a luncheon for seminarians and
  • a vocation essay contest for elementary and middle school students. The contest is happening now and the deadline for entries is

Oct. 12. For more information or a submission form, call 636-0296, ext. 1271.

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