Monday, November 9, 2015

Mass At Mission San Antonio In Honor Of St. Junipero Serra

  Statue of St. Junipero Serra at Mission San Antonio

On October 9th., 2015, just three weeks after the canonization of Fr. Junipero Serra, the first Traditional Latin Mass in over 40 years at Mission San Antonio (St. Anthony Mission) was celebrated in honor of this great Apostle of California. The Mass was heard by all the pilgrims in attendance with joy and thanksgiving, among which were direct descendants of the first immigrants to California from Mexico that arrived with the Anza Expedition in 1776. All agreed that it was fitting that St. Serra was honored at Mission San Antonio, the third of the California Mission he established, with the very Latin Mass he himself said daily.

  Mission San Antonio's altar readied for the first 
Traditional Latin Mass there in over 40 years

The following is an excerpt from the book 'San Antonio de Padua, the Mission in the Sierras' by Fr. Engelhardt, O.F.M.: "After traveling twenty-five leagues to the South of Monterey, here, close to a river forthwith named San Antonio, Fr. Serra had the goods unpacked... The bells brought along were suspended from a branch of a live oak tree. The sight of them caused his enthusiasm. He ran up to them, grasped the cords and rang them in a lively manner. Then he shouted: 'Hear, Oh Gentiles! Come! Oh come to the holy Church of God! Come, Oh come, and receive the Faith of Christ!...let me give vent to my heart's desires; for I would that these bells were heard all over the world.' A large cross was then constructed, raised, blessed and venerated in keeping with the Roman Ritual. Here the venerable Father Serra celebrated the first holy Mass in honor of Saint Anthony, the patron of the new Mission, on July 14, 1770...The ringing of the bells had attracted the attention of at least one Native American, and had caused him to approach cautiously while holy Mass was in progress...The sight of the man filled St. Serra with joy which he expressed during his sermon in these words: 'I trust in God and in the favor of St. Anthony that this Mission will become a great settlement of many Christians, because we see here what has not been observed in any of the other Missions founded before, that at the very first holy Mass the first fruits from the local gentiles has been present.' Such, in brief, was the beginning of Mission San Antonio."

    Statue of St. Anthony holding the Child Jesus, 
above the altar at Mission San Antonio