New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez is traveling to Italy with a select group of politicians who will represent the U.S. during Tuesday's inaugural mass for Pope Francis.
"It is my honor to represent New Mexico and our nation as a member of the U.S. delegation traveling to Rome for the Inaugural Mass for His Holiness Pope Francis," Martinez said in a statement to ABC-7.
The delegation is spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden, according to a news release from the White House. Biden is Catholic, as is Gov. Martinez.
"As a lifelong Roman Catholic, I feel deeply privileged and humbled to have the opportunity to meet the new Pope. The Catholic Church plays a vital role in the lives of New Mexicans and more than one billion people across the globe. I look forward to congratulating His Holiness on behalf of my fellow citizens and celebrating the inauguration of the first Pope from the Americas," she said.
Other members of the delegation are U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Georgetown University President John DeGioia.
A spokesman for Martinez said the governor will leave for Washington, D.C. on Saturday after the Legislature ends its 60-day session. The U.S. delegation departs early Sunday from the nation's capital for the trip to Rome.
Martinez is the nation's first female Hispanic governor.
A statement from the governor's office indicated Martinez talked about New Mexico’s national labs with Vice President Biden, and requested that they be able to speak with one another further about the future of the labs while en route to Rome.
"The Vice President graciously said they’d be able to talk about that and much more on the trip," the statement said.