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Local Students In Washington, D.C. For Pope's Visit

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Barack Obama and Pope Francis stand at attention during the playing of the national anthems during a state arrival ceremony for the pope, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

A group of 10 students from Saint Francis High School in Sacramento is in Washington, D.C. to see Pope Francis. They’ll be among the 25,000 people to attend the canonization Mass for Junipero Serra Wednesday.

Stephen Tholcke is the school’s Director of Campus Ministry. He says the students had to apply to go on the trip and they had different reasons for wanting to attend.

"One who’s studied all about the California missions from childhood up to now, others who just want to create some type of media experience to bring back and share with others who are just very impressed by this particular Pope," he says.

Tholcke says the visit will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Serra was a Spanish missionary who introduced Catholicism to California in the 18th century.

The canonization is the first ever on U.S. soil. Serra's canonization is controversial, especially in California, where Native Americans say he wiped out indigenous populations, enslaved converts and spread disease.