Happy Holidays 2022!

Dear Friend,

Soon after Pope Francis announced in early 2015 that Junípero Serra would be canonized, I began a journey of discovery. My research has led to my writing four books (two of which received Catholic Media Association Book Awards this year), writing articles, presenting to groups, and walking the 800-mile California Missions Trail. I have met so many interesting people along the way. I hope that I have been able to help you to speak the truth about St. Junipero Serra and the purpose of the California missions.

In addition to receiving CMA Book Awards, other highlights in 2022 included the release of the Knights of Columbus video about me for Season 3 of “Everyday Heroes” and having an article about Pablo Tac published in Boletín, the award-winning journal of The California Missions Foundation.

Thank you for your continued support. Special thanks to my family; His Eminence Robert Cardinal McElroy, Bishop of San Diego (pictured below); Catalina Font Gomila, President of the Friends of Junípero Serra Association in Petra, Spain; Greg Schwietz, President of Serra International; and Knights of Columbus California State Council SD Rene Trevino.

I hope that you continue calling on St. Junipero Serra and Pablo Tac. I will never tire of sharing their stories. Here is a recap of how I did so in 2022.

  • I was interviewed by . . .

California State Parks
Meaningful Journeys Podcast
North Coast Catholic (p. 15)

  • Articles by me appeared in . . .

California Catholic Daily on May 23 and October 10
ICN (Independent Catholic News)

  • I was a guest speaker . . .

Camino Serra Pilgrimage Group at Mission Santa Clara
Benedict XVI Institute
4th graders at Holy Angels School in Colma

  • The petition to nominate Pablo Tac for the cause of canonization is nearing 600 signatures!

Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! عيد ميلاد سعيد!Maligayang Pasko! Bon Nadal! Feliz Natal! Fröhliche Weihnachten!Felicem natalem Christi!

Happy New Year! ¡Feliz año nuevo! สวัสดีปีใหม่! Maligayang bagong taon! Bon any nou! Felice anno nuovo! Bonne année!

Saint Junípero Serra and Pablo Tac, pray for us!

¡Siempre adelante y nunca para atrás! #GoGoStJunipero #PabloTacPray4Us!


Christian Clifford

Author/ Educator/ Freelance Writer / Speaker
PABLO TAC PETITION / FB / Twitter / IG / TikTok /
Linkedin / Goodreads / Amazon / flickr / Quoura /YouTube

In September, my family was honored to visit with His Eminence Robert Cardinal McElroy, Bishop of San Diego! In 2016, he was kind enough to write the foreword to my award-winning book Who Was Saint Junipero Serra? Also pictured are my wife and son, to whom the book is dedicated.

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.


Catholic Media Association Book Awards 2022


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.”