By Sister Krystal Funk

In this Year of Consecrated Life, it made sense that novices such as myself from every religious order of men and women in the U.S. would be invited to the papal Mass Wednesday in the nation’s capital.

The occasion was the canonization of 18th-century Spanish missionary Junipero Serra at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Pope Francis did not speak to the novices and seminarians, just greeted and blessed us. In his homily, he talked about how God calls both lay and religious people to bring the Gospel to others with joy.

I wondered for a moment whether the pope really wanted to see the novices and seminarians. He is here to lift the spirits of the poor, right?

What would have happened if we had given our tickets to the homeless?

I am in Washington with S. Joan Hornick, ASC, my novice director, and S. Sara Dwyer, ASC, who works in D.C. I sat with four Dominican novices while Joan sat with Mercy novices, all from St. Louis. novices with Pope Francis mass in Washington, D.C.

One very lovely moment was when Cardinal Wuerl of Washington, D.C., welcomed the pope as a nation of diverse people, and listed the many nationalities that make up our country. The pope’s face lit up with a huge smile and he shook his head in agreement.

It spoke of a warmth that said “yes, here I am, and is this not amazing?”

It was a beautiful moment that did not need words to express what he was thinking.