Recap: Pope Francis Celebrates Mass in U.S. for First Time

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Pope Francis, escorted by security, departs the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle after a prayer service and meeting with U.S. bishops in Washington, D.C., on September 23. Mike Theiler/Reuters

Pope Francis continued his tour of Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. He first met with President Barack Obama at the White House in the morning, participated in a parade throughout the country's capital, then led a midday prayer at Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.

Follow along below for live updates:

5:04 p.m.: Serra has officially become a saint.

4:45 p.m.: The choir sings the names of a long list of saints.

4:41 p.m.: Speaking in Spanish, one of the Catholic leaders gives a speech about Serra.

4:36 p.m.: A large portrait of Junipero Serra, who is being canonized, is shown.

4:31 p.m.: The Mass is underway as the pope presides over a sea of bishops in white robes. Behind him, a red curtain and a large golden sculpture of Christ on the Cross are on display. The pope wears formal Catholic clergy attire.

4:20 p.m.: "Please refrain from raising banners or waving flags," a voice in the basilica says.

4:13 p.m.: The pope is in place to preside over the first Holy Mass of Canonization held on U.S. soil.

4:10 p.m.: For the second time today, Pope Francis carries a white bouquet of flowers to place inside the Holy space.

4:05 p.m.: Pope Francis has entered the basilica.

3:54 p.m.: There is an ongoing, thundering roar from the crowd along the route. They are watching his travels on a large screen.

3:50 p.m.: The pope is on the move once again in the "popemobile." The route he will traveling will take him across the campus of Catholic University of America before he arrives at the basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He is smiling and stretching out his hand to the crowd along the route.

3:46 p.m.: As he has done throughout his travels today, the pope is sitting in the backseat of the Fiat with Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of D.C.

3:30 p.m.: Clergy are filing into rows, ahead of the start of canonization Mass, which will be held outside. The canonization of the 18th-century Spanish Franciscan missionary Junipero Serra will be his first-ever Mass in the U.S.

3:15 p.m.: A choir is singing ahead of the pope's Mass, which is expected to begin soon.

1:52 p.m.: Wuerl now is walking along the barricades, shaking hands and kissing and hugging children.

1:48 p.m.: The pope exits the vehicle and waves to the crowd. He walks over to the barricades, shaking hands and kissing children. The crowd is cheering, "Pope Francis, we love you!" He gives one more wave to the crowd, then walks into a building.

1:46 p.m.: Fiat drives past lines of screaming people behind barricades.

1:43 p.m.: The pope's motorcade leaves the cathedral.

1:27 p.m.: Francis leaves the cathedral. Bishops begin processing out of the building.

1:26 p.m.: On behalf of Francis, a bishop says the pope is "very sorry he can't greet every bishop personally." Francis then points to his watch, suggesting he is on a tight schedule and possibly late to his next event.

1:23 p.m.: Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz, of Louisville, Kentucky, presents the pope with two gifts. The first is an original piece of art commissioned to celebrate his pastoral visit to the U.S. The painting, titled "Saints of God Come to Our Aid," depicts the saints born in the U.S. or ministered in the country during their lifetime. They are seen welcoming missionary Serra.

The second gift is a monetary present that Kurtz says represents the love of the bishops and Francis's faithful followers throughout the U.S. The bishops offer it to him to help him continue his care of those "who are most poor," Kurtz adds. The amount of the gift is not disclosed.

1:15 p.m.: Some bishops form a line to approach the pope and shake his hand. Some bow and kiss his left hand. They are wearing name tags.

1:13 p.m.: The pope ends his address: "May God bless you and Our Lady watch over you."

1:10 p.m.: The pope says immigrants have "resources meant to be shared." He urges bishops not to be afraid to welcome them. "Offer them the warmth of the love of Christ and you will unlock the mystery of their heart. I am certain that, as so often in the past, these people will enrich America and its church," he said.

12:46 p.m.: Francis tells U.S. bishops to ensure that "crimes" of clergy sex abuse never happen again. "I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims—in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed—and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated," he said.

12:32 p.m.: Francis thanks Archbishops Kurtz and Wuerl. He extends his best wishes to Jewish people for Yom Kippur, which is the holiest day of the year in Judaism.

12:29 p.m.: Francis is not speaking English during his address.

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Pope Francis speaks to bishops during the midday prayer service at the Cathedral of St. Matthews in Washington, D.C., on September 23. Mark Wilson/Pool/Reuters

11:50 a.m.: The pope places flowers on an alter after walking through the cathedral with a group of bishops. He enters the main platform of the cathedral, six security agents are seen behind him. The choir begins singing. He bows his head and begins praying and singing along with the crowd.

11:49 a.m.: Doors have opened. Upon entering the cathedral, Francis kisses a cross and sprinkles holy water. He is greeted by Monsignor W. Ronald Jameson, the rector of St. Matthew's.

11:46 a.m.: The pope has exited his small black Fiat 500, his car of choice, and discusses something quietly with his entourage. Some in the crowd scream "Papa" and cheer. Francis stops to wave to them before entering the cathedral.

11:39 a.m.: Bishops are waiting patiently for the pope to arrive at Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Some arrived this morning, securing their place in the church to see the pope.

11:38 a.m.: Women calling for females to be ordained as Catholic priests lay on the sidewalk outside of the cathedral.

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Members of Women’s Ordination Worldwide protest Pope Francis in Washington on September 23. The protesters want the Catholic Church to recognize female priests. Miriam Duignan/Women’s Ordination Worldwide

11:37 a.m.: Obama presents the pope with a sculpture of an ascending dove, which is an international symbol of peace and the Christian symbol for the Holy Spirit, a White House official wrote in a press email. He also gave him a key from the Maryland home of Elizabeth Ann Seton. Dedicated to serving those most in need, Mother Seton was the first native-born American to be declared a saint. This year marks the 40th anniversary of her canonization.

11:25 a.m.: Francis stops to kiss a baby:

11:18 a.m.: The pope began traveling through Washington, D.C., in is "popemobile." The vehicle has a dedicated parody Twitter feed:

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Pope Francis gives a thumbs up to the crowd as he rides down Constitution Avenue in his Popemobile in Washington. Gary Cameron/Reuters

10:36 a.m.: During his first speech to Americans on his historic trip to the White House, Francis on Wednesday morning said this is a critical time in history to address climate change.

"It seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation," the pope said to a loud round of applause from the crowd on the South Lawn of the White House. He continued, saying this is a critical time in history to bring about sustainable and integral development. The pope, who is Argentine, spoke in English.

Francis, 78, said he soon will "have the honor" of addressing Congress, where he hopes "to offer words of encouragement to those called to guide the nation's political future in fidelity to its founding principles." During his address to congressional leaders on Thursday, he is expected to discuss climate change, the U.S. embargo on Cuba and the refugee crisis within the European Union.

Francis told Obama he anticipates his next few days in the U.S. This trip is the pope's first to the country.

"As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families," he added.

Earlier in the morning, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, welcomed the pope ahead of the State Arrival ceremony.

Obama spoke publicly first, thanking and welcoming the pontiff to the U.S. on behalf of 70 million American Catholics.

"You remind us that we have a sacred obligation to protect our planet, God's magnificent gift to us," he said. "We support your call to all world leaders to support the communities most vulnerable to changing climates, and to come together to preserve our world for future generations."

The president also acknowledged the ongoing refugee crisis in the Middle East and Africa, citing Francis as a reminder of God's message of mercy.

Following the speeches, the pope and Obama met privately in the Oval Office for about 45 minutes. Later, Francis will participate in two parades and canonize 18th-century Spanish Franciscan missionary Junipero Serra during a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

He will travel to New York City and Philadelphia later this week.

Additional reporting by Polly Mosendz.

Recap: Pope Francis Celebrates Mass in U.S. for First Time | U.S.