For 20 years, Trena Turner has been the pastor at the non-denominational Victory in Praise Church in Stockton. She’s never been a Catholic, so Turner said she was shocked when she got the call.
"Pope Francis, meeting the Pope, how about that,” Turner said.
Turner is one of 15 people from the United States chosen to meet with the Pope in Rome next week. She will be going to the World Meeting of Popular Movements. She was selected by the Pacific Community Organizations, a non-profit, and she said she hopes to bring her knowledge of social justice to the event.
"I'll have an opportunity to help them see a little bit about Live Free and the over-criminalization of people with color and how Black Lives Matter have so much merit to it,” Turner said.
Since becoming head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has been intentional in reaching out to all branches of Christianity around the world.
"I find it to be an inspiration, said Deacon Michael Wofford at the Cathedral of the Annunciation. “I think it's been a long time coming that the Roman Catholic Church has kind of opens its arms to embrace people of other faiths."
Wofford with the Catholic Diocese in Stockton wishes Turner the best of luck and offers her some advice.
"I would just say to be as open and honest as she possibly can. From what I've heard from those who've had direct encounters with the Pope, that's what he likes,” Turner said.
Pastor Turner is leaving on Monday and will be in Rome of a week. She said she welcomes the opportunity to meet his holiness.
"I look forward to being changed. I look forward to the experience and I know my life will be enriched as a result of it,” Turner said.