The following comes from an April 20 Catholic News Agency article:

San Diego– Bishop Robert McElroy, the new head of the San Diego diocese, has criticized a proposal to remove the statue of pioneering California missionary and soon-to-be saint Father Junipero Serra from the U.S. Capitol.

Bishop McElroy told journalists on Wednesday that Fr. Serra is a “foundational figure” of California history. He noted that Fr. Serra is one of the few Hispanics honored in the U.S. Capitol and represents a state “rapidly becoming majority Hispanic,” the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The U.S. Capitol building houses two statues from each state, depicting renowned figures from the state’s history. On April 13, the California Senate voted 22-10 to remove Fr. Serra’s statue and replace it with a statue of Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space. The proposal must be approved by the California Assembly and Gov. Jerry Brown if it is to take effect.

Pope Francis will canonize Fr. Serra September 23 during his visit to the United States. In January, the Pope characterized Serra as “the evangelizer of the west in the United States.