Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Commemorating the Canonization of Junípero Serra

It's another historic day in the Catholic Church as our Holy Father visits the United States of America and Father Junípero Serra becomes the very first saint to be canonized on U.S. soil!

Junípero Serra was a Spanish Franciscan friar who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, which at the time were in Alta California in the Province of Las Californias in New Spain. (source:

I wish I had pictures to go along with all of these suggestions and links, but I wanted to share the post now, rather than waiting until after the canonization... I decided to update the post with some additional pictures!

Here are seven ways to commemorate this special day with children:

1 – Picture Books

There are some great picture books available about the Papacy, Pope Francis and the soon-to-be canonized Saint Junipero Serra. Snuggles received a new book about our Holy Father ("his Pope") in his Easter basket last year. Many of these books are available from Sacred Heart Books and Gifts, Catholic Child, and through my affiliate links below. Here is the list of the books we'll be reading:

Jorge from Argentina: The Story of Pope Francis for Children by Marlyn Monge

Our Holy Father the Pope: The Papacy from Saint Peter to the Present - An excellent book for teaching children about the Papacy.  

"Only the Pope may declare men and women to be saints." - Our Holy Father the Pope

The Mission Bell (OOP) - The story of Father Junipero Serra's travels in the California wilderness, of his interest in the Indians and of his building of the missions.

The Mission Bell

Song of the Swallows - First published in 1948, was written and illustrated by Leo Politi about Mission San Juan Capistrano, the 7th of 9 missions established by Father Serra. 

The First Californian: The Story of Fray Junípero Serra (OOP) - Chapter book by Donald DeMarest and originally published in 1963.

The First Californian

I'm still waiting for our copies of the following two books to arrive:

Serra: American Founding Father

Junípero Serra: Founder of the California Missions (Pre-Order! I'll probably save this for one of the children's Stacks of Books on Christmas Morning or for next year's Easter Baskets since it hasn't been released yet.)

2 – Coloring Pages & Worksheets

Free Online Resources:

Pope Francis printables from Tiny Saints

Pope Francis in the United States from Paper Dali

Blessed Junipero Serra's Canonization Day from Paper Dali

Pope Francis coloring pages from St. John the Baptist Religious Education

Blessed Junipero Serra from Catholic Playground

From Catholic Playground, Saints of the Americas, and Paper Dali

Coloring Books to Purchase:

Bl. Junipero Serra from Saints of the Americas Coloring & Activity Book

Pope Francis Coloring & Activity Book

Popes Coloring Book (Dover)

California Missions Coloring Book (Dover)

3 – Lap Book

If you never downloaded the Papal Lap Book and Unit Study I created during the Election of Pope Francis, now is another great time for a Unit Study on the Papacy. Here is a list of my published posts on the Lap Book. (I never did get back to completing the posts for the last couple units.)

The Primacy of Peter :: A Papal Unit Study and Lap Book

7 Quick Takes :: Habemus Papam!

Scroll through all my Papal Unit Study posts here

(Note: A number of my posts include suggestions for reading from My Catholic Faith. This was a childhood favorite of my husband's and we have been using it with our children ever since our teenagers were toddlers. This beautiful book has just been released in Audio format!!! Today we will be listening to the following sections: 74. One Body in Christ: Communion of Saints, 93. The Veneration of Saints, and 94. Relics and Images.) 

4 – Crafts

California Missions to Cut Out (Book 1) and California Mission to Cut Out (Book 2)

Pope Francis Craft

Summer with the Saints: Blessed Junipero Serra (homemade holy cards)

Mission Drawings on Brown Paper and Drawing Guides

5 – Catholic Cuisine

Celebrating Bl. Junipero Serra with California Mission Foods over at Catholic Cuisine

Mexican Chocolate Bread Pudding over at Catholic Cuisine

Flan -- A Spanish Delight over at Catholic Cuisine

Italian Cream Cupcakes with Vatican Flag and Pope Francis' Papal Coat of Arms Cupcake Toppers

Keys of Heaven Candies for my children using this Key Mold and Yellow Candy Melts

Chicken Paella from

More ideas can be found over at Catholic Culture

Fig Newtons - The Black Mission Fig was named after the mission fathers who planted the fruit as they made their way north along the California coast!

6 – Gift Ideas

Hand-painted Bl. Junipero Serra Doll from {JOY}filled Family

St. Junipero Serra from Naturally Catholic

Pope Francis and Saint Junipero Serra from Tiny Saints

Blessed Junipero Serra print form Portraits of Saints

Monk Rag Doll from Jacob's Toy Box

7 – Watch the Live Coverage

Pope Francis Visit 2015

The Official Schedule for Pope Francis' Visit to the U.S.

Watch the Canonization Live stream right here at 1 p.m. PDT (4:00 EST) on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015!

Live Streaming and Archived Videos from the Vatican YouTube Channel (English)

Yesterday we pulled out the iPad and started watching the World Meeting of Families using the EWTN app and AirPlay! Our older boys set their alarms to wake up extra early this morning to watch the welcoming ceremony at the White House before meeting with their math tutor! EWTN will also be streaming the canonization. You can view their schedule here.

From Instagram: "Very excited to see the #PopeInUS and be able to watch the #canonization of #stjuniperoserra live on #EWTN... My kids are also super excited to see Monsignor Cihak standing next to Pope Francis! Just last week I showed our 8 year old pictures of this holy priest holding him right after his birth! Sure miss having him out here in our diocese..."

God most High, your servant Junipero Serra brought the gospel of Christ to the peoples of Mexico and California and firmly established the Church among them. By his intercession, and through the example of his apostolic zeal, inspire us to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

St. Junípero Serra, Ora Pro Nobis!