Some Bay Area residents to attend mass given by Pope Francis

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Pope Francis plans to hold a mass for 25,000 Spanish speaking Catholics, including people from the Bay Area during his historic visit to the United States.

Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in Washington D.C. Tuesday. He's there for Wednesday's canonization of Father Juniper Serra, the founder of the California missions. A few people from the Bay Area have been chosen to have coveted seats near the pope.

READ MORE: Schedule of events for Pope Francis' visit to the United States

From Washington D.C. to New York and Philadelphia, the pope is the hottest ticket in town, so hot that tickets the Catholic Church gave out for free are now selling for hundreds of dollars online.

Luis Colon and Berta Mondoy can't imagine selling their tickets. "I am really looking forward to going, to be able to see his holiness, it's going to be a great experience for me," Colon said.

"I am very excited in being next to the pope and waiting for his message about hope," Mondoy said.

Colon and Mondoy are among 200 Bay Area Catholics chosen for the once in lifetime opportunity.

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"The state of California that we have 12 dioceses, a bishop heading each diocese here in the state of California, we were allotted tickets for the event and so we divided them up among the 12," San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said.

They will attend mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

"We want to be present when he canonizes Father Junipero Serra," Mondoy said.

Serra was the Spanish missionary responsible for establishing California's missions, including Mission Dolores in San Francisco.

Theologians suspect Serra's rise to sainthood is the pope's way of weighing in on the global immigration debate.

"We in our culture are struggling with the issue of immigration," St. Mary's College of California professor Zach Flanagin said. "He's not going to dictate what immigration policy should be, but he probably and rightfully so should get up and say that immigrants are people too, people of invaluable human dignity."

Because the pope is from Argentina many Latin Americans feel he speaks directly to them. "He understands where we are coming from as Latinos and Hispanics and Americans," Colon said.

The pope will hold a separate mass for 25,000 Spanish speaking Catholics, including people from the Bay Area praying for a chance to speak directly to the pope.

"What would I say? I'd say keep doing what you are doing right now," Colon said.

"Pray for us and talk for the people who cannot talk," Mondoy said.

Written and produced by Ken Miguel

ABC7 News' Ama Daetz is in Washington DC, the first of three cities the pope will visit when he arrives in the U.S. Watch her reports this week and join us as ABC7 News follows Pope Francis' historic trip.

Click here for full coverage on Pope Francis in the U.S.

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religionpope franciscubapopepope us visitu.s. & worldcatholic churchchurchworld newsWashington DCNew YorkPennsylvania
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