SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The Franciscan friar who founded many of California’s missions in the late 1700s will be canonized by Pope Francis during his trip to the United States later this year.

According to the National Catholic Reporter, Francis revealed that he is planning to canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, a missionary who founded nine of the state’s 21 missions.

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“Now, in September, God willing, I will canonize Junipero Serra in the United States,” he said to reporters aboard the papal plane during his tour of Asia.

Francis is scheduled to visit Philadelphia during his United States trip. No other locations have been announced, but some observers have speculated that the pontiff could visit the western U.S, where Serra was a missionary.

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Upon hearing the news, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a statement, “We are all elated at the news of the canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra and thankful to Pope Francis for his decision. All of us, especially who are Catholics here in California, Fr. Serra being the great apostle here in California.”

Born in 1713 in Spain, Serra arrived in the Americas in 1749 and founded the first California mission in San Diego in 1769. He died at the mission at Carmel, near Monterey, in 1784.

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Numerous landmarks in the Bay Area and California are named in Serra’s honor, including Interstate 280 (the Junipero Serra Freeway) and Serra High School in San Mateo.