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Father Serra’s Beatification Set

Father Junipero Serra, the 18th-Century Franciscan missionary known as the “Apostle of California,” will be beatified Sunday morning in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

More than 300 priests and lay people from California--including about 100 from the Southland--have joined organized tours to be present for the colorful three-hour ceremony, during which Pope John Paul II will also beatify Father Miguel Pro, a Mexican Jesuit who was executed in 1927, and three others.

Among those scheduled to participate in the Mass are retired Cardinal Timothy Manning and Archbishop Roger M. Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles; Bishop Thaddeus Shubsda of the Diocese of Monterey, and the first two American bishops of Indian descent--Donald E. Pelotte of Gallup, N.M., and Charles J. Shaput of Rapid City, S.D.

Honored Guests

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Sister Mary Boniface Dyrda, a St. Louis nun who recovered from a serious case of the collagen disease lupus 25 years ago after praying for Serra’s help, will be an honored guest at the proceedings. So will Brendan O’Rourke, a 5-year-old San Francisco boy with AIDS who received a hug from the Pope during the pontiff’s visit with a group of AIDS patients at Mission Dolores in San Francisco a year ago.

Dyrda’s cure, which the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints determined to be miraculous, enabled Serra, who founded nine in the chain of 21 California missions, to be elevated from venerable to beatified. The designation is the second of three steps to Roman Catholic sainthood, or canonization.

Among local commemorations of the beatification Sunday will be a trilingual Mass--in English, Spanish and Vietnamese--at 2:30 p.m. in the San Gabriel Mission, attended by Auxiliary Bishop Juan A. Arzube. And members of Serra International, a Catholic lay organization to foster religious vocations, will sponsor an 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday at Queen of Angels Seminary in Mission Hills.


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