Pope Francis Celebrates Mass to Canonize First Saint on American Soil

Junipero Serra, the Spanish priest who established California's missions, was canonized but not without some controversy.
2:15 | 09/24/15

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Transcript for Pope Francis Celebrates Mass to Canonize First Saint on American Soil
As we said a day of first full breakfast making history. Right behind us here and you can see much of that crowd many people I was talking to earlier still. Gathered down there behind us the Pope celebrating mass here at the basilica of the national shrine of the immaculate conception and for the first time televising a safe on American soil. It eighteenth century Spanish missionary who came to America and historic moment but not without some controversy. Still tens of thousands here to witness the moment including our own Cecilia Vega was not far from us right here tonight a Cecilia. Hey David good evening to you hear right that asked just wrapping up I can tell you the crowd here is just ecstatic today ending here just as it began with the crowd chanting. These pop up long live the Pope. He entered as only hope Francis can in that Pope mobile to the resounding cheers of the faithful. His first mass in the United States and he did it by making history. The first saint ever named on American soil who dipper Serra the Spanish priest who established California's missions. Wow I really fading as having excellent pretty special. Today descendants of the native Americans he converted right there at the altar. Special to some controversial to others Sarah's Roland history marking a dark chapter of colonization and forced conversion of native Americans tonight thousands of this hash tag Serra is no saint and the more you Internet. And I. Pricing at least standard Sarah reach sainthood relatively quickly just 231. Years after his death. Here is yeah. Act in this area yes well they are here to witness. Facing history there's also something else that they're pretty excited about yeah I think it is the big yeah. The image of an a for a Serra looming large very when he goes. But tonight another image looms even larger today it is. And of course that other first tomorrow that historic speech to congress David as you know we will see even more proud back. Cecilia Vega with a slide here in Washington as well Cecilia thank you and we will have full coverage of the pope's trip to America. Every step of the journey tonight on Nightline first thing in the morning on Good Morning America and I'll be back in New York. Would the boat tomorrow night.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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