A Play: Saint Junípero Serra


CHARACTERS: Junípero Serra, Friar Friend, Reporter 1, Onlooker 1, Onlooker 2, Crowd, Reporter 2, Builder, Mourners, Priest

(Scene opens with Reporter 1 on far end of the stage, talking directly to the camera/audience. A small crowd of people is starting to gather on the road.)
Reporter 1: I’m here live along the road to Mexico City where word is that Franciscan friar Junípero Serra will be walking by shortly. Junípero and a fellow friar are making the 300-mile trek to Mexico City after having just arrived from Spain to be missionaries. We understand that Junípero has been a Franciscan since he was just 17 and taught philosophy and theology before embarking on this next adventure in his faith journey. While we wait, let’s talk to some of the bystanders here.
Onlooker 1: I am amazed that he has the strength and faith in God to make such a long journey on foot! It’s dangerous out here!
Onlooker 2: Look! I see him!
(Junípero and another friar enter from the opposite side of the stage, walking slowly; Junípero is limping. The two carry Bibles and wear Franciscan robes. They come up to the reporter and bystanders in the middle of the stage.)
Reporter: Junípero! I’m here with Channel 5 news. We heard about your tremendous walk to Mexico City. Please, tell us about this pilgrimage. I see you are limping!
Junípero: Hola, amigos! I came to Mexico because I wanted to be a missionary and bring the Word of God to all of God’s creation! Yes, on our long walk, we encountered a poisonous insect that bit me… (The crowd gasps.) ...but I believe the Lord will look after me until my work is done.
Friar Friend: In fact, Junípero has dedicated his life’s work to Our Lady of Guadalupe. We trust in God’s plan.
Reporter 1: Very good. Well, we will let you continue on your way. Good luck, Junípero Serra!
Junípero: (as he limps away, smiling) I don’t need luck; I have God!
(The crowd cheers.)
Reporter 1: Back to you in the studio!
(Lights come up on Reporter 2, adjusting his/her earpiece, standing with a builder. Reporter starts as if just cued off-camera.)
Reporter 2: Thank you, Anna. I’m standing here with Santiago, a builder, who is part of the crew responsible for these missions popping up all over the region.
Builder: Well, I am a builder from this area but I am not responsible. We construct walls and secure the roof, but the man who gives these buildings purpose is Junípero Serra, the president of the missions. With these missions, he provides the foundation not just for a shelter for those in need, but the foundation for building, teaching, and growing in the Catholic faith.
Reporter 2: Yes, Junípero Serra has worked with 14 missions in Lower California, and we recently learned he will be heading to Upper California to help spread the Word of God to the Native Americans of the Pacific Coast. Ah, here he comes now!
Junípero: Hola, amigos! The building looks great and will be an important center of faith and community for this area. Muchas gracias!
Reporter 2: Junípero, these missions are important to the native people here. How so?
Junípero: These missions are communities in which everything is common for all. The Native Americans learn to grow crops and raise livestock, to read, sing, and paint, and most importantly, we invite them to learn about the Catholic faith. I have baptized about 6,000 people of this region. We are very happy to nourish their faith.
Reporter 2: Junípero, we learned that you’ll be trekking out soon to help establish more missions. But I see that you have a swollen leg! How will you manage?
Junípero: Yes, this injury is from when I first arrived in Mexico to spread God’s message. I believe God will see me through the pain until my work is completed. I don’t mind it much when I know I have God’s strength behind me.
Reporter 2: Thank you for your time, Junípero.
Builder: And for your devotion to nourishing the faith of this community!
Reporter 2: Back to you in the studio, Anna!
(Lights come up on a group of mourners and a parish priest. They gather around a framed photo of Junípero Serra.)
Priest: As many of you know, Junípero Serra knew he was close to meeting God. He called upon the Spirit to find the strength to walk here to this little chapel to receive the Eucharist before he was called home to the Kingdom of Heaven. Brother Junípero Serra was a Franciscan, a missionary, a friend, an agent of Christ, and a nourisher of faith. He founded nine of the 21 Franciscan missions along the Pacific Coast and brought the Word of God to thousands of people who seek the Truth. Because of this, we call him the “Father of California.”
(The crowd weeps loudly.)
While our weeping drowns out the singing today, our hearts sing out praise for having known Junípero Serra. Lord, have mercy on our brother, Junípero Serra.
All: Amen.

Related Article: Biography of Blessed Junípero Serra