A Monday evening mass at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in downtown Sacramento was celebrated in honor of Pope Francis as he visits the United States.
"Grant we pray, that as we receive Francis our Pope in our country today, we may acknowledge the blessings and goodness that you have given us," prayed the presiding priest during mass.
After mass, several parishioners shared their thoughts on the meaning of the pope's U.S. visit.
"It's like Jesus going out and spreading the faith throughout the world, coming to all the different places and just spreading the gospel," said one.
"I love his friendliness, his warmth, his sense of humor, his love for the poor especially," expressed another.
"Pope Francis is a tremendous moral voice in the world, a very engaging person, a person who lives the story and walks the walk," said Monsignor James Murphy of the Sacramento Diocese. "I think he is very credible as a spokesperson for the poor because he lives so simply himself."
In another Sacramento connection to the pope, the pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in midtown, Fr. Ken Laverone, has been chosen to read a document aloud at Wednesday's beatification mass in Washington D.C., during which Pope Francis will declare Father Junipero Serra a saint. Father Serra was the founder of the California mission system.
A Sacramento viewing party of the Pope's Wednesday mass will be held at 1 p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Parish.
Pope Francis is just the fourth pontiff to visit the United States.