Fr. Catala was assigned to Mission Santa Clara in 1796, nineteen years after the mission was founded by Saint Junipero Serra in 1777, and he labored there with love and great personal sacrifice for thirty-six years until his death.
According to contemporary eye-witness accounts, Fr. Catala was a mystic, a miracle worker, an exorcist, a prophet, and a wonderfully holy man. A free-for-download 1909 book titled The Holy Man of Santa Clara, (by Fr. Zaephyrin Engelhardt, O.F.M., published by The James H. Barry Company, San Francisco) describes the miraculous events of his life.
The book records the reports of many reliable witnesses (whose hand-written letters still can be viewed in the University of Santa Clara Library Archives). They tell that they saw Fr. Catala levitate when he prayed in front of a crucifix, and that the figure of Christ detached his hands from the cross and laid them on Fr. Catala’s shoulders.
That very same life-sized crucifix hangs over the altar where Wednesday’s Mass will be celebrated.
Fifty-four years after he died in 1830, Fr. Catala's cause for canonization was taken up by Archbishop Alemany, the first bishop of San Francisco. Testimony about his life and virtue was submitted to Rome in 1909, but the cause for canonization of this worthy servant of God has stalled for the past 108 years.
Perhaps you may wish to offer prayers on your own for this cause if you cannot attend the Mass.
If you are interested in attending, you can find the restored Mission Santa Clara Church on the University of Santa Clara campus, at the end of Palm Drive, which is the main drive. Ask directions for parking at the campus entrance, which is located 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053. Be aware that you cannot drive to the entrance of the Mission Church, and the distance between the parking areas and the mission entrance presents a problem for some people who have trouble walking. (Click the map to see a larger view.)
Following are some remarkable prophecies from The Holy Man of Santa Clara:
“It appears that Almighty God in those days allowed His servant a distinct view of the future of California. There were still many witnesses alive in 1884 who under oath declared that the holy man had preached substantially as follows: People from almost all the nations of the earth will come to this coast. Another flag will come from the East and the people that follow it will speak an altogether different language, and they will have a different religion. These people will take possession of the country and the lands. On account of their sins the Californians will lose their lands and become poor, and many of their children's children will give up their own religion.
“‘The Indians will be dispersed, and will not know what to do, and they will be like sheep running wild. Heretics will erect church buildings, but these will not be true temples of God. Sons will be against their fathers, and fathers against their sons, and brother will be against brother. The coming of so many people will create great scarcity, so that a measure of wheat will be bought for its weight in gold. ‘Una fanega de trigo se compraria a peso de oro.’ As a consequence, much distress will come upon the Indians and Californians. ‘I shall not see this,’ he exclaimed, ‘but there are those alive that will see it.’”