Church officials hope the pope's message of goodwill spreads

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Pope Francis may be back in Rome, but his time in the United States is leaving a lasting impression.

Bishop Armando Ochoa said, "These past few days have been an extraordinary gift to all of us."

Bishop Armando Ochoa of Fresno was in Washington D.C. for the pope's visit and the canonization of Junipero Serra.

"It was a very powerful experience," said Ochoa. "I had a great opportunity, I was sitting on the right side and right of front of the ambo, where the holy father was, about five rows back. It was a great opportunity to experience the passion."

On Monday at St. Anne's Chapel, he spoke about the pope's visit and the message that touched him and many others. While visiting the East Coast, the pope spoke about everything from strengthening the family unit to being tolerant of sexual orientation.

Ochoa said, "Let's make sure no one is going to be on the outside, looking in because they feel god's grace is not going to reach out."

Ochoa hopes to keep the doors open and says St. Paul's Newman Center is reaching out those in the Fresno area.

Furthermore, he says he was touched by Pope Francis' tender heart toward the people as he took time to kiss babies, laugh and embrace those facing difficult challenges.

Ochoa added, "How can we reach people where they are at and invite them on this journey of faith."

Ochoa says he has heard many stories of people who were impacted by the pope and is looking forward to hope spreading across the Valley.

Following the pope's visit, the church will distribute material, covering all the powerful topics he talked about. But he's hoping believers and non-believers will show love and kindness to one another.

Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.