The under-construction Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe church in Mecca has another supporter: Pope Francis.
The Rev. Howard Lincoln, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Palm Desert and construction administrator for Our Lady of Guadalupe, went to Rome a week ago with the Papal Foundation, a group that supports the pope, and attended a papal audience at the Vatican with them on Friday.
He said someone who works with the pope suggested getting a photo of the Mecca building blessed. Tuesday, Sacred Heart posted a photo on its Facebook page of Lincoln holding the photo and Francis blessing it.
Construction of the Mecca church started in January and is expected to be finished by the end of November. The parish has been using a temporary structure since its roof collapsed several years ago, Lincoln said.
He said he got about 20 seconds with the pope, and rehearsed his Spanish to speak to Francis, who is Argentinean.
" I think it's a thrill to meet him, for anyone to meet him. He said 'Welcome -- bienvenidos,"' Lincoln said. "... He was very, very welcoming, smiling, very gracious, and very holy."
He said Francis left the meeting in a small Ford Focus car, and his black shoes were very plain.
"He's known as the pope not engaged in regal trappings ... he walks the walk," Lincoln said.
Lincoln returned from Rome on Sunday, and said he plans to celebrate Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe in the future and bring the photo.
– City News Service.