The feast of Blessed Junipero Serra was cause for extra celebration in the Diocese of Phoenix this year. July 1 marked the dedication of a stained-glass window depicting the patron saint of vocations.
A day later, the Office of Vocations and Serra Club members throughout the diocese — who pray daily for religious vocations and financially support them — rejoiced in tipping the total number of seminarians out of the 20s to 32.
“Never think that your prayer is not needed. Never think that your sacrifices are not needed,” Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares said during his homily.
Members from the three Serra Clubs in the diocese, including those who sponsored the window, attended the dedication Mass in the chapel of the Diocesan Pastoral Center July 1. The Blessed Junipero Serra window sits beside the ambo.
To find your nearest Serra Club in the Diocese of Phoenix, call the Office of Vocations (602) 354-2004
“It’s beautiful to have him looking over anyone who preaches here at this pulpit because he was a great evangelizer,” the bishop said.
He recounted the Franciscan priest’s missionary zeal throughout California ending with San Francisco de Asís in San Francisco. Blessed Junipero baptized more than 6,000 people, mostly Native Americans and received special permission to administer the sacrament of confirmation.
“We don’t need priests. We need good and holy priests following the example of Junipero Serra,” the bishop said, “those on fire for the love of God and willing to sacrifice themselves for the salvation of souls.”
He described this year’s seminarian class as quality young men.
Tom Castellanos, district governor for the Serra Club, finds the club’s patron saint to be a solid example of fortitude. He said such a role model is important when working on behalf of the Church.
He loves that Serrans will be able to see the window several times a year for club functions. Members gather in the chapel at the Diocesan Pastoral Center for clergy appreciation nights and charter nights.
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“To have Blessed Junipero Serra present while we charter new members is a real blessing,” Castellanso said.
He also recognized the importance of the saints depicted in 13 other lower-level windows in the chapel. St. John Paul advanced the cause for canonization for all of them.
For anyone who prays in the chapel, Castellanos hopes that the saints will encourage and build them up, especially those with an Arizona connection. Only the St. Rose Philippine Duchesne window remains unsponsored on the lower level.