Pope Francis Makes Missionary Junipero Serra a Saint

Pope Francis listens to families inside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. Pope Francis left Cuba on Tuesday for his first trip to the U.S., wrapping up a four-day visit to the communist island with an appeal to the people to rediscover their Catholic heritage and live a "revolution of tenderness." (Tony Gentile/Pool via AP)

Pope Francis is taking the United States by storm.

In one of his first orders of business as he celebrates his first ever Mass in the United States, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, was making a saint of the Spanish missionary Junipero Serra who built missions in California.

Junipero Serra left his native land and its way of life,” Francis said in his homily during the canonization Mass at Catholic University in Washington. “He was excited about blazing trails, going forth to meet many people, learning and valuing their particular customs and ways of life.”

According to CNN, the canonization of the 18th-century missionary is a first on U.S. soil and a prideful moment for Latinos.

Not all are joyous over the occasion, some Native Americans believe that Serra was no saint. They say he came to conquer and convert their communities.

Valentin Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal band located along Monterey Bay in California said, “We believe saints are supposed to be people who followed in the life of Jesus Christ and the words of Jesus Christ. There was no Jesus Christ lifestyle at the missions,” Lopez has campaigned against sainthood for Serra.

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