Reactions Mixed to Pope’s Plan to Canonize Father Junipero Serra

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SACRAMENTO-

As news of a new saint echoes through the air, some are rejoicing Pope Francis' decision to canonize Father Junipero Serra.

"I was astonished first of all because I thought it would take years," Sierra Club member and retired UC Davis English professor Jerry Murphy told FOX40.

Father Serra is close to Murphy's heart because his family helped him establish California's missions.

"One of the soldiers that came up with him from Mexico was a man by the name of Manuel Butron," Murphy said. "From that line of decent on my mother's side, I'm in the 12th generation."

But some question Serra's use of soldiers against California's Native American population.

"When Indian people came into the missions, they weren't allowed to leave and were forced to work which today in our country we call that slavery," Vincent Medina said. Medina is the curator of the MIssion Dolores Museum in San Francisco and has roots in the Ohlone tribe.

Murphy says he also has Native American blood, and sees Serra's work differently.

"Look at it from the Christian point of view. Look at if from the epistemology point of view. It goes right back to Matthew 13. They fed them regularly. Which most Indians were constantly on the verge of starvation," he said.