Petition to nominate Pablo Tac for the cause of canonization
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Dear Bishop McElroy,
Peace be with you!
I was so inspired by the life of Pablo Tac, the Luiseño (or Payómkawichum) who went to Rome to study for the priesthood and whose writings are the earliest from a California Indian that I wrote Meet Pablo Tac: Indian from the Far Shores of California. This young man who accomplished so much in his short life is a story of exemplary faith, courage in the face of adversity, and the universality of the Catholic Church.
I am honored and privileged to present to you this petition. It contains over _____ signatures from both Catholics and people of goodwill. The petition requests that the Diocese of San Diego proceed as the petitioner to nominate Pablo Tac for the cause of canonization, confident that he will inspire many in their pilgrimage to the Creator.
Pablo’s father, Pedro Alcántara, was from Quechinga and baptized on October 19, 1801. Pablo’s mother, born Ladislaya Molmolix, was from Pumusi and baptized July 3, 1804 when she was three (both rancherías were in the modern-day southern Camp Pendleton area). Pablo was born in 1822 and raised at Mission San Luis Rey de Francia (present-day Oceanside). At the age of ten, Pablo left the Mission with his spiritual father, Father Antonio Peyrí, O.F.M., and another young neophyte, Agapito Amamix. Their destination was Rome via Mexico City, New York, and Barcelona. On September 23, 1834, Pablo and Agapito enrolled at Urban College in the Eternal City, the first seminarians from the California missions. As students they learned how to be missionary priests, hoping to one day return home to California to shepherd their Luiseño brothers and sisters in Christ. Pablo took the Oath of Fidelity on February 2, 1839.
While studying to become a priest in Rome, 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), created a dictionary of the language of his people (“Prima Linguae Californiensis Rudimenta a P. Tak proposita”, c. February 1838), and an account of the native peoples in Southern California (“De Californiensibus”, c. after 1838). During Pablo’s fifth year at Urban College, government officials from Mexico requested that the Holy See create a new diocese where Pablo was from out of the Diocese of Sonora. The formal letter of the Mexican Legation at Rome to the Holy See was dated April 6, 1840, and the Papal Bull creating the Diocese of California (with its cathedral church at Saint Didacus [San Diego]) followed three weeks later, on April 27, 1840. According to Fr. J.M. Carillo, author of the 1959 book The Story of Mission San Antonio de Pala, descendants of Pablo’s were living and Dr. Karl Kottmann also notes that the memory of Pablo remained as recently as 1993-1995, when he was the principal at Pala Mission School.
It is time that Pablo Tac, both prophet and saint, be honored by being brought to his rightful place—remembered and venerated forever—as a true spiritual warrior and scholar.
Thanks be to God!
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