Jan Cebula reports reaction from the pope's visit to the White House

This article appears in the Francis in the United States feature series. View the full series.
Pope Francis, U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle wave from the south portico of the White House in Washington Sept. 23. (CNS photo / Paul Haring)

After spending the last week with the Nuns on the Bus, Global Sisters Report's Sr. Jan Cebula was excited to spend Wednesday morning at the White House welcoming Pope Francis, even though it meant arriving at the White House by 5 a.m. for the 9:15 a.m. welcoming ceremony.

"It was hard for me to see because I'm so short, but I did get a few glimpses" of Pope Francis, she said.

"It's really quite an honor and a privilege to be at such a historical event," she said. "Especially with this pope, whose message is so needed today in the world, in the church."

Cebula said she thought President Barack Obama's speech was "really good. I think he captured [Pope Francis], his spirit, his message, his person."

And she enjoyed that Pope Francis was able to touch on the family, immigration, inequality, the earth, and religious liberty in his speech, which he gave in English.

"He covered the bases," she said.

Cebula said watching Pope Francis and Obama speak was a "wonderful" culmination to the fourth annual bus tour. (The Nuns on the Bus wore their T-shirts to the welcoming ceremony.) She said the people who attended the Nuns on the Bus town hall meetings were eager to talk about the pope.

"People said, 'He's my pope, too!' " she said. "People are excited about his presence and the things he's talking about. It was a perfect fit."

- Posted to Wednesday's Following Francis on NCRonline.org at 10:28 a.m. central time