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I am a Catholic. I was baptized Catholic as a baby, and Mom raised me as such. The priests baptized Miquel Josep Serra a Catholic, born 1713 in Petra, Mallorca. Dad converted, and became Catholic. Twenty years before Serra's birth, the Spanish Inquisition held autos de fé in Palma, Mallorca's capital, and Jews were burned at the stake. My brother and sister are Catholics. Four more Jews were burned in 1720, when Miquel was seven. Grandma and Grandpa were Catholics. For his Holy Orders, Miquel Josep adopted the name of Father Fray Junípero Serra, and later still he came to what we know today as California, state where I was born and raised a Catholic.
In Last Mass Jamie Iredell navigates the complex history of colonial California, his own personal history as a Catholic growing up in that state, and the process of writing itself, with all its pitfalls and revelations.