Earlier today, while on tour of the Philippines, Pope Francis announced he’d canonize Spanish friar,—but not just any friar, it’s Junípero Serra. As Alta California’s “Father Presidente,” Serra oversaw the founding of 21 of California’s Spanish Missions, including Mission de San Francis of Asís (aka our very own Mission Dolores).

In the cemetery at Mission Dolores.

In the cemetery at Mission Dolores.

Now there are two saints who have statues in the Mission Dolores cemetery. We wrote about their race to sainthood  in 2009.  The Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha became a saint in October, 2012.

Here’s what San Francisco’s Archbishop Cordileone has to say about the rising status of the religious icon with deep NorCal ties:

Considered a founding father of California, Serra’s history with the state’s indigenous peoples isn’t without some blemishes—if you can call forced labor and corporal punishment blemishes.

Regardless, California’s getting a Saint. Maybe we’ll get a papal visit.