Twin Cities Serran didn’t think canonization would happen in his lifetime

| September 24, 2015 | 0 Comments
Bob Labat, a parishioner of Holy Name of Jesus in Wayzata and St. Therese in Deephaven, attended the canonization Mass for St. Junipero Serra Sept. 23 at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Labat just ended his one-year term as president of the national council. Dianne Towalski/For The Catholic Spirit

Bob Labat, a parishioner of Holy Name of Jesus in Wayzata and St. Therese in Deephaven, attended the canonization Mass for St. Junipero Serra Sept. 23 at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Labat just ended his one-year term as president of the national council. Dianne Towalski/The Catholic Spirit file photo

The moment Bob Labat had been waiting for came when he walked into the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., Sept. 23 for the canonization Mass of Junipero Serra. Pope Francis made the dream of thousands of Serra Club members come true, including Labat, who just ended his one-year term as president of the national council.

“It was a very emotional event,” said Labat, 78, who belongs to Holy Name of Jesus in Wayzata and St. Therese in Deephaven. “I’ve been involved with Serra for 25 years, and we’ve had a lot of prayer for the canonization of Junipero Serra. Frankly, most of us didn’t think it would happen in our lifetime. It was remarkable because it was so historic. It’s the first saint to be canonized, I think, in the United States. So, it was very emotional and very gratifying and very rewarding.”


Related: Bishop Cozzens says saint status will add fervor to Serrans’ mission


After the Mass, which lasted more than two hours, Labat and a contingent of about 150 Serrans from across the country and around the world, went back to their hotel and had a celebration that lasted well into the evening. He said he enjoyed seeing “hundreds and hundreds” of priests and bishops at the canonization Mass, as well as many people from different countries.

“There was a large contingent from Mexico, and they were especially happy because Mexico was the first country where Junipero Serra was an evangelist,” Labat said. “I think he spent 12 to 14 years there. . . . I don’t think they went to bed last night.”

Labat shares their joy, especially when he looks ahead to what the canonization will mean for Serra clubs and for the vocations these clubs support.

“It’s going to be a real resurgence of our ministry and our purpose as Serrans,” he said, “to encourage and affirm more vocations to the priesthood and religious life.”

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Category: Pope in U.S.