A special commemoration of the 193d anniversary of the death of Father Junipero Serra, an early pioneer and missionary in California who was the inspiration for Serra International, was held Sunday in the Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol.
The program, sponsored by the Roman Catholic Serra Clubs of Washington, Northern Virginia, Ft. Belvoir, Richmond and Baltimore, featured a wreath-laying at the base of Serra's statute.
Rep. Robert Dornan (R-Calif.), who represents part of the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara area visited by the Franciscan missionary, spoke of the Spanish priest's life and achievements.
"The Jesuit motto, 'For the Greater Glory of Gold' aptly describes the life and achievements of the 18th century Franciscan," Dornan said.
"An outstanding example of dedication and courage for Americans, especially Catholics, this frail man, only five feet tall, with a crippled leg and in almost constant pain, endured many hardships, walked uncounted hundreds of miles founded many missions, and converted thousands of Indians to Christianity," the congressman said.
Besides founding many missions. Serra, who was born on the Island of Majorca, Spain, in 1713, explored and named the great San Franando Valley.
His statue in Statuary Hall stands as a monument to his contribution to California. Statuary Hall contains two statutes of outstanding men and women from each state.
Other speakers participating in the ceremony were Msgr. George Curlin, director of vocations, Archidocese of Washington and pastor of St. Mary Mother of God Church, and Rev. Anthony LoGallbo, Franciscan scholar and assistant superior of Holy Name College near the Franciscan Monastery here.
The chairman of the program, Chief Judge Howard Markey of the U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, is a director of the Washington Serra Club. Serra International is a Catholic business and professional men's organization that seeks to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life.