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Father Serra arrives

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Joined: 27 Nov 2007
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Location: Monterey County, California

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:42 pm    Post subject: Father Serra arrives Reply with quote

One of the most momentous events in the history of Monterey, aside from the actual discovery of it, was that day, the 31st of May, 1769, when Father Junipero Serra arrived at its shores. It was through his efforts that California advanced at an astonishing pace, bringing the Indians to a better understanding with the white race, begetting attention from many other quarters of the world. Of this event, Father Crespi wrote as follows:

"On the third day of June, 1770, Pentecost Sunday, when Commander Don Gaspar de Portola with his officers, subalterns, soldiers and the rest of the land expedition, Don Juan Perez, captain of the packet-boat San Antonia, with his sub-captain, Don Miguel del Pino, the whole crew and the rest of the sea expedition, and the Rev. Father Lector and President of all the missions, Fr. Junipero Serra, with Fra. Juan Crespi, had assembled on the shore of the Port of Monterey, an enramada having been erected on the very spot and near the live-oak where in 1602 the Rev. Carmelite Fathers, who had come with the expedition of Commandante Sebastian Vizcaino, celebrated the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the altar having been arranged and the bells suspended, the celebration began with the loud ringing of the bells.

"The said Fr. Presidente vested with alb and stole, all kneeling, then implored the assistance of the Holy Ghost (whose coming upon the small assembly of the apostles and disciples of the Lord of the Universal Church celebrated that day), and sang the hymn of the day, the Veni Creator Spiritus. Thereupon he blessed water and with it the great cross, which had been constructed and which all helped to raise and place in position, and then venerated. He then sprinkled the whole surroundings and the shore with holy water in order to drive away all infernal enemies.

Thereupon High Mass was commenced at the altar upon which stood the image of Our Lady, which through the inspector-general, the Most Rev. Francisco de Lorenzana, Archbishop of Mexico, had donated for the expedition to Monterey. This first holy mass was sung by the said Fr. President, who also preached after the Gospel, whilst repeated salutes from the cannons of the bark and volleys from the muskets and firearms supplied the lack of musical instruments. At the close of the holy Mass the Salve Regina was sung before the lovely statue of Our Lady, and then the whole ceremony concluded with the Te Deum Laudamus.

"When the function of the church was finished, the commander took formal possession of the land in the name of our King, Don Carlos III (whom God preserve), by raising anew the royal standard which had already been unfurled after the erection of the cross. Then followed the customary ceremonies of the uprooting of herbs, throwing of stones, and drawing up a record of all that transpired."

"On the same day of Pentecost, June 3rd, the Rev. Fr. Presidente of the missions, Fr. Junipero Serra, in the name of the king and of the Rev. Fr. Guardian and the Venerable Discretory of the Apostolic College of the Propagation of the Faith of San Fernando de Mexico, established the new mission under the title of San Carlos Boromeo. Naming as principal patron of the new church the most holy Patriarch St. Joseph, he took possession of it in the name of said college, and assigned as his fellow missionary Fr. Juan Crespi, his disciple in philosophy."

On this same day Alejo Vino, the ship calker of the San Antonia who had died the day before, was buried, with impressive funeral rites, at the foot of the large cross which had been erected in front of the proposed chapel.

At this juncture plans were laid for a presidio—an essential feature of the colonization work. Under the direction of Portola rude huts were constructed in Monterey for the shelter of the soldiers, the officers and the padres. Around the square containing these huts, a palisade of poles was erected. This palisade was later to be supplanted with walls of adobe and stone. The enclosure then measured one hundred and ten yards on each side. On the north were the main entrance, the guard house, and the warehouses; on the west the houses of the governor commandante and other officers, some fifteen apartments in all; on the east nine houses for soldiers, and a blacksmith shop; and on the south, besides nine similar houses, was the presidio church, opposite the main gateway (Bancroft's History of California).

Portola turned the military command over to Lieutenant Pedro Fages and proceeded to Mexico.
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