Watch Mary Rose and Father Illo talk about the Church of the Poor

May 13 marks 107 years that the Mother of God came from heaven to console three very poor children. If this sounds like a fairy tale to you, it sounds like a fairy tale to me as well. Therefore, all the more do I wonder at what actually happened in a farming village of Portugal in 1917. It would be a fairy tale except for the fact that 70,000 people, including the most convinced secularist news reporters (notably the Lisbon daily O Seculo), saw and felt events that everyone could only describe as “supernatural.” The Lady, so the children said, would provide a “great sign” that would convince most people that she was from God, and that is what happened on October 17, 1917.

The three people who claimed to see and hear Mary at that time were very poor. Lucia, Francisco, and Jancinta were the poor children of poor farmers in a poor village. The wealthy and powerful Marxist mayor of that district did not believe these poor people, but the Church has always been essentially of, for, and by the poor. The wealthier and more powerful the Church becomes, the farther she drifts from God. “Blessed are the poor, for they shall see God,” said the poor founder of our faith.

Joy filled me this morning as I offered a morning Mass for Our Lady in a convent chapel here in San Francisco. I was the only white, middle-class person in the room. The sisters were all from Mexico, and of the six folks at Mass, two were Latino, two were black, and two were Asian. In their beautiful simplicity and humility, these people of color were all delighted to be together at a Mass of Our Lady. They have very little in this world, but they are not angry or sad. Rather, they rejoice to stand together before Someone greater than themselves.

I go to the Symphony, I have lunch at Linked-In headquarters, I wander the corridors of power at City Hall — none of these places are as “colored” as a Catholic Mass. Truly, the Catholic Church is “here comes everybody,” and truly, it is at the Lord’s Supper that the poor and marginalized gather, not to complain or demand, but to simply love and be loved. How wonderful it is to be a Catholic!

From Father Illo’s blog

Watch Mary Rose and Father Illo talk about the Church of the Poor