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Catholic Church launches campaign to reshape Junipero Serra's image
Catholic Church launches campaign to reshape Junipero Serra's image

It’s not every day that a newly named saint needs a campaign to spruce up his image. But with the Vatican’s formal announcement Monday that the pope will canonize Father Junipero Serra during the pontiff's visit to the U.S. came the beginnings of an apparent rebranding effort. The 18th century friar and his acolytes are credited with launching a string of missions from San Diego to Sonoma, which laid the spiritual and economic foundations of modern California. Advocates for his sainthood contend that the Mallorca-born missionary opted to spread the gospel rather than lay claim to land and gold like so many Spanish governors and military leaders. But...

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