Today in Washington, D.C., Pope Francis will canonize the United States’ first Hispanic saint, Junípero Serra.
Archbishop Jose Gomez, the highest-ranking Hispanic bishop in the US, has called Serra’s canonization a “historic moment in the life of the Hispanic people.”
Junípero was born on Mallorca in 1713 and given the name Miquel. He took the religious name Junípero in honor of 13th-century Brother Juniper upon joining the Franciscans as a teenager. Several decades later, he relocated to the New World and began establishing missions in California.
He’s a controversial figure among California’s Native Americans, many of whom believe Serra mistreated and exploited their ancestors, but his canonization will no doubt boost his image among Hispanic Catholics in the U.S.
So here are my questions: Do you think the boy name Junípero could debut on the SSA’s baby name list in 2015? (The name Juniper is currently on the rise for girls, incidentally.) How about the girl name Serra — do you think it will see higher-than-expected usage this year?