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WASHINGTON – The largest Catholic church in the Americas isn't nearly big enough to hold everyone who wants to see Pope Francis perform a Mass of canonization next week.
Instead, the pope will canonize Junipero Serra from a temporary sanctuary that's being built on the east portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The church can comfortably seat 3,500 people, and up to 10,000 can cram inside on special occasions like Easter. But the pope's visit is more than that. The Archdiocese of Washington is distributing 25,000 tickets to the Mass next Wednesday.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, says the Basilica is the ideal location for the first pope from the New World to canonize a friar who brought the first Catholic missions to California.