Author speaks to Young Adult Catholic Charismatics

(Press release used for “Speaker: Prayer the ‘building blocks’ for loving God and neighbor” by Nicholas Wolfram Smith, Catholic San Francisco, August 6, 2019)

Christian Clifford, author of books about California mission history, spoke on August 3, 2019, to delegates of the Bukas Loob Sa Diyos (BLD) Singles Ministry at their Singles Inter-district Conference (SIC) at St. Dunstan Parish Center in Millbrae, California.  About 150 were in attendance. Delegates came from Newark, NJ, the San Francisco bay area, Phoenix, AZ, Los Angeles, CA, Seattle, WA, Reno, NV, and Vancouver and Toronto, Canada.

According to the BLD website, “We are the Bukas Loob sa Diyos (BLD) Covenant Community. Founded in June 1985, BLD is a pioneering lay organization in the Philippine renewal movement.”

The history of Catholic charismatics, according to the website of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal National Service Committee, “The Catholic Charismatic Renewal as it exists today is the outgrowth from a retreat held in February 1967 of several faculty members and students from Duquesne University. Many of the students – though not all – experienced a movement of God’s Spirit called being ‘baptized in the Holy Spirit’ . . . . the Catholic Charismatic Renewal exists in over 238 countries in the world, having touched over 100 million Catholics in its nearly 40-year existence.”

The premise of Clifford’s presentation on prayer was how it helps one to not feel alone and despondent. He shared “. . . as an adopted son of God, I know that I walk through life with Christ and this gives me great consolation amid the great noise and confusion in the world. It is a joy that destroys the ‘watchful dragons’, to borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis.” He continued, “I can spend lots of time talking about the formula of prayer and types of meditation. I will only briefly, however, because our Church for 2,000 years has collected so many powerful and faithful prayers in Her treasury. In short, they exist, we just need to discover them. For example, do a google search of the term CATHOLIC PRAYERS and you will get about 219,000,000 results.” At the heart of the talk was how he came to write his first book, Saint Junipero Serra: Making Sense of the History and Legacy, and how the journey since has only deepened his relationship with St. Junipero Serra. He challenged attendees to  go beyond one’s comfort zone and that there God’s grace abounds. He incorporated inspirational writings from the 18th-century Franciscan priest who brought Catholicism to California two-hundred-fifty years ago and stressed the importance of praying with the saints. Some others he highlighted were young, holy people: Saint Kateri Tekakwitha; Saint Pedro Calungsod; Saint Charles Lwanga; Saint Maria Teresa Goretti; Saint José Luis Sánchez del Río; and Blessed Chiara Badano.

Clifford highlighted his pilgrimage of the 800-mile California Missions Trail during his second talk on action. He spoke about how it is imperative to get off the proverbial bench to see God at work in the world. To date he has walked 479 miles of the CMT  over 29 days. He shared the challenges and joys he has encountered so far, analogous to what one experiences when they have the courage to build the kingdom of God. He gave some practical ideas of how to put prayer into action, such as going to a senior center, helping at a shelter, peacefully having one’s voice heard by attending a protest, emailing a legislator; attend a retreat; going to World Youth Day; having a mini-pilgrimage in one’s city or town.

In his concluding remarks, he said, “. . . choose to live a life in Christ and you will never go wrong. There are many forms of prayer–find one that helps you talk to God. I highly recommend walking with the saints. They have been through what you and I encounter or what may be on the horizon. Make a promise to yourself to be more of an apostle–one who is sent. . . . You already have a strong foundation. If you didn’t, you would not be here today. No matter what you do, the act of prayer will help one build on the foundation–they will be like building blocks that will help one better love God and serve their neighbor. Jesus said it best, “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock” (Mt 7:24-25).

Pablo Tac on CNA Newsroom

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Contact: missions1769(at)gmail(dot)com

Website: www.Missions1769.com

Story of California mission Indian Pablo Tac shared on award-winning podcast CNA Newsroom

San Mateo, CA — Christian Clifford, veteran Catholic school educator, has been on a quest to get the word out about Pablo Tac (1822-1841). He recently did just that while a guest on CNA Newsroom, an award-winning podcast of EWTN News, part of the largest religious media network in the world.

Pablo Tac was Luiseño Indian. He was born and raised at Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, located in present-day Oceanside, California. At the age of ten, he left the Mission with Fr. Antonio Peyrí and another Luiseño boy, Agapito Amamix. Their destination was Rome. On September 23, 1834, Pablo and Agapito enrolled at the Urban College. There they learned how to be missionary priests, hoping to one day return home to minister to their fellow Luiseño. 

Clifford, author of the only popular biography about the Mission Indian youth, Meet Pablo Tac, hopes that bringing attention to Pablo Tac will lead to more research being done. He believes there must be more to discover about him beyond what we know. 

Pablo Tac’s writings are the earliest from a California Indian. While in Rome studying for the Catholic priesthood, Pablo wrote a description of life as a mission Indian (“Conversion of the San Luiseños of Alta California”, c. 1835), gave a public recitation of a poem at the Polyglot Academy (c. January 1836), in Sequoyahesque fashion created a dictionary of the language of his people (“Prima Linguae Californiensis Rudimenta a P. Tak proposita”, c. February 1838), and wrote an account of the native peoples in Southern California (“De Californiensibus”, c. after 1838). 

Clifford realizes that unlike the first North American Indian saint, Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680), Pablo is little known. That does not seem to slow him down, though. He was overjoyed when he met Catholic Luiseños in July 2019 at the Tekakwitha Conference in Sharonville, Ohio who are aware of Pablo and follow in his footsteps. Also, a hall at Mission San Luis Rey was named after Pablo in 2012 and in June 2021 it was decided that an Oceanside public elementary school will take his name. He is confident that once people are made aware of his short life that it inspires, as attested by the over 500 Catholics and people of good will who have signed the petition to nominate Pablo Tac for the cause of canonization (an electronic version of the petition can be found at www.change.org/InvokePabloTac). The campaign has not yet received the support of the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians or the Diocese of San Diego.

Clifford, who finished walking the 800-mile California Missions Trail in the summer of 2020, made it a point to pray to and draw inspiration from Pablo Tac. He shares, “Pablo has the power to move hearts and minds.”

Listen to the podcast “Ep. 117: The powerful witness of Native American Catholics” at https://soundcloud.com/cnanewsroom. For more information about Christian Clifford, visit www.Missions1769.com. For a brief video on the life of Pablo Tac, go here.

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Californian Knight recognized as Everyday Hero

Californian Knight recognized as Everyday Hero for his 800-mile pilgrimage to the 21 California Missions 

San Mateo, CA — July 1 is the feast day of Saint Junípero Serra. Learn more about the holy friar, who soon-to-be Cardinal Robert McElroy of the Diocese of San Diego in 2015 called a “foundational figure” in California history, from a man who literally walked in his footsteps.

Christian Clifford, author of books about Spanish-Mexican history in California, was on a quest to visit all twenty-one California missions, on foot! When asked why he did it, he shared, “I visited all 21 missions by car so I thought it would be nice to walk the entire chain. Being a Catholic school teacher for over twenty years, my hope was to get as close to the lives of the amazing people who were the first Catholics in California—indigenous, Spanish, mestizo—with the hope of being a better Catholic and teacher.” He achieved his mission and is featured in the third season of the Knights of Columbus multipart series “Everyday Heroes”. 

The Knights of Columbus, founded in 1882, is a Catholic fraternal benefit society with over 2 million members worldwide. The series “Everyday Heroes”, according to the Knights of Columbus, “focus the spotlight on these remarkable Knights whose courage, faith and commitment to charity embody the mission of the Knights of Columbus.” Christian Clifford is a 3rd degree member of Council 1346, founded in 1908 and one of the first five councils founded in California. They meet at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Belmont.

Clifford began his 800-mile journey in May 2018, the year marking the 184th anniversary of Pablo Tac’s enrollment at the Urban College, Rome, where the Native American youth and scholar attended seminary (learn more about Pablo Tac here). The bulk of his miles were walked in 2019. Clifford teaches theology at Serra High School in San Mateo and 2019 marked the school’s 75th anniversary and the 250th anniversary of the founding of the first California mission at San Diego. Clifford finished his walk to the twenty-one California missions in June 2020 and believes it was appropriate, because 2020 marked the fifth year since the canonization of Junípero Serra. 

Specifics for Clifford’s pilgrimage along the California Missions Trail were approximately 800-miles walked over 45 days, and approximately 298 hours walking. Clifford also raised over $2000 on Facebook and GoFundMe for The Campaign for the Preservation of Mission San Antonio de Padua Foundation. Founded in 1771 by Saint Junípero Serra, the third of the twenty-one California missions is the remotest and for many a favorite because of its authenticity. Clifford believes, “The Mission is a gem. Future generations must know of the roots of modern California and the Spanish missions are those roots.”

Clifford documented his adventure on the California Missions Trail in Pilgrimage: In Search of the REAL California Missions.

To watch the Everyday Heroes “Walking in the Footsteps of St. Junipero Serra” episode about Christian Clifford, visit here.  For more information about Christian Clifford visit www.Missions1769.com.

PRINTED in NORTH COAST CATHOLIC (DIOCESE OF SANTA ROSA), JULY/AUGUST 2022 (16).

Catholic Media Association Book Awards 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: missions1769(at)gmail(dot)com

Website: www.Missions1769.com

California mission history books author recognized at CMA Book Awards

San Mateo, CA — Christian Clifford, author of books about Spanish and Mexican history in California, received two Catholic Media Association Book Awards on July 7, 2022, during this year’s Catholic Media Association Conference in Portland, Oregon. The CMA Book Awards recognize the outstanding work of publishers, authors, and book editors that support the faith-filled life of Catholic readers.

Founded in 1911, the CMA describes itself as an “organization of Catholic publishers and media professionals united in the action of servicing the Catholic Church.” Its Facebook page notes that its membership includes “nearly 250 publications and 500 individuals. Member print publications reach 10 million households plus countless others through our members’ websites and social media outlets.”

Clifford’s writings have appeared in Aleteia, Angelus, Cal Catholic, California Teacher, Catholic Exchange, Catholic News Agency, Catholic San Francisco, ChurchPop, Crux,  Philippine Daily Inquirer, San Diego Reader, Today’s Catholic Teacher, among others. Clifford has been a guest speaker on radio and to school, church, and service groups. 

Clifford received a B.A. in Social Science from the University of Great Falls (Montana) and M.A. in Catholic School Teaching from the University of San Francisco. He has been a teacher in the schools of the Archdiocese of San Francisco since 1997. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and son.

Judges at the Catholic Media Association deemed the following:

2nd place in the category of Pilgrimages/Catholic travel Books

“This nicely designed account of the author’s 800-mile foot journey on the California Missions Trail includes renditions of period maps, photographs of key people involved in the establishment and operations of the missions, and the author’s reflections. Each chapter also includes information about the experiences of the founding friars and the Native peoples as well as the author-pilgrim’s experience.”

3rd place in the category of Newly Canonized Saints

“This book was very informative with cute illustrations. It was written in first-person narrative, so that it sounds like an autobiography, and follows the life of the saint and those whom he influenced. The language was easy to understand. I enjoyed this simple explanatory book that detailed the history and relationships of this canonized saint.”

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