Valley Catholics staying connected with Pope's visit in their own ways

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local Catholics headed to Saint Anne's Chapel in Fresno for a special mass, ahead of the pope's canonization of Saint Junipero Serra in Washington, D.C. Wednesday's mass was in participation with the Serra Club of Fresno, hoping to connect people here with the events on the East Coast.

Msgr. Ray Dreiling said, "We believe it's important for us to link ourselves to try to be in union with that celebration that's happening in Washington."

Monsignior Ray Dreiling says Junipero Serra's journey into sainthood is also important for locals since he helped start the missions in California. In Washington, D.C.

Thousands gathered to watch the canonization by Pope Francis. Helping the pope celebrate were more than 260 priests from across the country and globe, including some from the Central Valley.

Fr. Mike Lastiri said, "It's significant because Junipero Serra brought the Christian faith to California and one of those events in our American history where Christianity was brought."

The Hanford-based priest shared with Action News his excitement of being able to celebrate with the pope. We caught up with him as he was rehearsing his part before the canonization.

"This is the closest I think I will ever have seen him and truly I tell you it's very exciting," said Fr. Mike Lastiri. "Now it has quieted down so I believe the bishops are about the process in the next few minutes so. Definitely very exciting."

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