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Padre Serra’s comeback

Padre Serra’s comeback: Statue removed from Ventura city hall returns to mission

On Feb. 29, a larger-than-life-size bronze statue of St. Junípero Serra came home to the last of the nine missions that the 18th-century Spanish missionary founded: the Mission Basilica San Buenaventura.

The return of the statue from Ventura’s city hall, originally driven by disputes over Serra’s legacy and threats to deface or destroy his image, is a remarkable example of cooperation between the Catholic Church, Chumash tribal leaders descended from those who built the mission in 1782, and civic leaders committed to building community rather than tearing it down.

The cooperation occurred despite significant differences over the meaning and impact of Serra’s legacy. The Catholic Church, which canonized him in 2015, maintains that history shows him to be a loving evangelist who strove to protect Indigenous Californians from abuse by the Spanish military.

Read full article on Angelus News.