Pope Francis canonizes controversial saint Serra

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Pope Francis on Wednesday canonized Junipero Serra, a Spanish missionary, a moment of deep pride for Latinos but a source of controversy for many Native Americans. 

Serra, who came to California nearly 250 years ago, is the first saint to be canonized on U.S. soil. 

"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." 

The Pope praised Serra's treatment of Native Americans, saying that he "sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated and abused it."





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