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News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Controversial California missions founder Junipero Serra to become Saint

by Take Two®

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Mission San Antonio de Padua in Monterey County, CA has the statue of Father Junipero Serra outside. Flickr/mlhradio

The Catholic Church may have a new Saint to pray to. 

Pope Francis announced Thursday that he will canonize Father Junipero Serra, the founder of California's missions. The Pope said the canonization -- the formal elevation of a person to sainthood -- will take place in September when he visits the United States.

Junipero Serra is a controversial figure, though, for his role in evangelizing the West -- a process that some say began the decimation of the Native American population. 

For more, Stephen Hackel joined Take Two. He's a Professor of History at UC Riverside and the author of "Junípero Serra: California's Founding Father."

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