San Diego Mission pastor celebrates its 250 years with apology

"Great pain to the Native American people”

San Diego Mission. “That pain is hidden within these walls.”

The following comes from a Jan. 10 story by Ken and Chris Stone in the Times of San Diego.

The 22nd successor of Saint Junipero Serra as pastor of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, California’s first church, opened what he called a memorable year in its history Thursday by seeking to heal wounds of its early years.

Launching a year of 250th anniversary events, the Rev. Peter Escalante told an overflow audience that the California missions brought “great pain to the Native American people. And that pain is hidden within these walls.”

He noted the jubilee year in which two interwoven traditions blend at Mission San Diego — the Spanish Franciscan way and the American Indian spirituality, “which practices respect for the Earth and the divine spirit that fills it.”


  1. I’m so sick of political correctness infecting the church. I’m so sick of virtue-signaling priests and bishops. So sick of it all. And throwing Saint Junipero Serra under the bus was tacky.

    • Good point!!!

    • The truth of history is not tacky
      How can you reconsile the love of christ in the gospels with slavery disease oppression and death of a people different than you the church has done good and bad things at the same time
      Which are good and bad in all of us being honest brings more back to the flock and less will leave because of this statement

  2. St. Christopher says

    Wasn’t it Mohammed Ali who thanked his great-great-grandaddy for “getting on that [slave] boat?” The point is that European “discovery” and exploration brought the True Faith to heathens. Does this priest, or any cleric, think that these “original” Americans would have been better off without the opportunity to receive the True Faith? Of course, the simple-minded among our Readers would agree with the whiners, but then, that is what they do, that is all that they can do. Who knows why God works as He does? Certainly Spain had severe penalties for mistreating Indians (obviously not closely followed by the conquistadors).

    • Obviously, the Pastor of this parish wasn’t thinking in spiritual terms, but in worldly terms. He may think that bashing Padre Serra is a good idea, but he’s missed Jesus’ words about spreading the Gospel. When one truly turns from sin it is often a painful experience. Purgatory is painful. It isn’t easy taking up your cross and following Jesus. Perhaps he’s pushing “Free to be, you and me” crap.

  3. The group called the native Americans (sometimes treated very badly were conquered people) like what has happened all over the world in time immemorial also wiped out the Anasazi who were here before them. Go figure. Age old problem. When will we say enough and just deal justly with each other here and now?

  4. Robert Lockwood says

    What an absurd statement. Someone send him information on the life of Father Serra.

    • Anonymous says

      I knew Father Escalante when he attended St. Rita’s. I saw him a couple of years ago and he totally snub me like he was embarassed. We were good friends at St Rita’s and he acted like he didn’t know who I was. Very sad and disappointed.

  5. Oh come on. Why are you parroting the talking points of the anti-Catholic idiots? If anything the Native Americans should be thanking the Franciscans for the missions. They protected the tribes, taught them how to work and farm and more importantly brought them Christ. Juniperro Serra was a saint. Stop with all the pandering to the left.

  6. The best thing that happened to the Indians was getting catechized by Saint Junípero Sierra. They were given the invaluable gift of the potent Western Civilization.

    Siempre Adelante!

  7. Please enumerate the “great pains” that were committed at Mission San Diego de Alcala.

  8. helen wheels says

    what about the missionaries who were murdered there?
    don’t count?
    wrong color?

  9. I wonder if this San Diego Pastor has ever turned from sin and followed Jesus. If he has, he will remember that it’s a painful experience. Conversion isn’t a rainbows and lollypops experience. It’s often painful and difficult. Jesus tells us to take up our Cross and follow Him. Would the Aboriginal Americans have been better off remaining pagans and not receiving Christ?

    • Could they have received Christ and not had their lands stolen from them?

    • Oh, Really? says

      Fr. John: Aha! I was just thinking about this today. Our European nations were invaded (Huns, Picts, Goths, Romans, Barbarians, Vikings) and conquered quite succinctly by all. Wrong? Well, no. We, the vanquished, although kicking and screaming, benefited by the strengthening of our stock, while the invaders took our seeds of faith and planted them in their fallow lands. The result was a dynamic Europe of faith and commerce.

  10. This poor Priest has forgotten that conversion to Christ isn’t always rainbows and lollypops. The great saints have suffered to follow Jesus. Every conversion involves pain. I am a Convert to Catholicism myself. I didn’t come to the Catholic Church because it was easy, but because I had to give up a lot of “stuff” and come into Communion with God. Fr. Escalante seems to have forgotten that God called these Aboriginal Americans to Him and that Fr. Serra was doing God’s Holy Will in bringing them the Gospel and the Sacraments.

    • No he hasn’t. Your assessment is very wrong. I know him. I attend this parish from time to time. The issues here, are serious and he has opened dialogue with many people, who often protested this Parish. He is using the bag of good seed and allowing the Holy Spirit to do the growing.

  11. If that’s the case, then just tear it down instead of spitting on the legacy of St. Juniperro Serra.

  12. Both whites and native American Indians died from those diseases. We fought each other, and we intermarried. I do not see any genocide. We are all still here. I only have one per cent Native American Indian, not enough to count, but my grandchildren have much more, either of the northern or southern variety. Two of my blood cousins were one fourth Native American Indian, and they had auburn and sandy brown hair, blue eyes and light skin. Their father had auburn hair, light brown skin and blue eyes,

    The Pastor needs our prayers, I am reminded of what a GIFT Faith is!

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