The following comes from an October 21 Orange County Register article by Erin Donnelly:
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – San Juan Capistrano’s City Council voted Tuesday not to install St. Junipero Serra’s motto onto the council chamber walls. The vote was 3-2 against, with Council members Kerry Ferguson and John Perry in support.
Serra’s motto is “Siempre Adelante, Nunca Atras,” a Spanish phrase that translates to “Always forward, never back.” The Franciscan friar founded several California missions, including the San Juan Capistrano mission, and was canonized by Pope Francis during his visit to the United States last month.
A handful of residents expressed concern about the motto, emphasizing separation of church and state and Serra’s controversial relationship with Native Americans.
“Saint Serra is a product of the Catholic church,” Jan Siegel said. “I support the canonization of Serra and felt it was long overdue. However, that elevation is for the church and not the city of San Juan Capistrano.”
“The motto is a reminder of what my ancestors endured,” said Rick Mendez, a descendent of the Acjachemen tribe of Native Americans.
Ferguson and Perry said during the meeting that the phrase doesn’t have religious connotations and is more of an uplifting motto connected to the city’s history.