The community at St. Elisabeth of Hungary Church in Van Nuys is asking for prayers after a mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe was vandalized on church grounds. 

The parish’s security system recorded video footage of an unknown man dressed in black approaching the mural with a sledgehammer at 1:40 a.m. Wednesday morning. He can be seen smashing the tiles that make up Our Lady’s face several times before fleeing. The police are currently investigating. 

The hand-painted tile mural stands between the church and the rectory. It was installed over 35 years ago as a “symbol of community unity,” said business manager Irma Ochoa. Each square tile was sponsored by a parish family. Overlooking a small altar, the mural has become a popular place for parishioners to pray and light candles, asking Our Lady for special blessings. 

Also on Friday, a local artist, Geo Rhodes, was scheduled to visit the mural and discuss a plan for repair, arranged by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. “We hope that soon we will restore the image, or have a new one more beautiful than the one we had before,” Fr. Di Marzio said.  

Full story at Angelus News.

From the website of St. Elisabeth’s Parish, Van Nuys:

The Image of our Lady on Cedros Ave. has been severely vandalized. This is one of our saddest moments in addition to our pandemic times ever since. It was hit 13 times with a long sledgehammer at 1.40a early Wednesday and was clearly recorded on our security video camera. Fr. Vito, our Pastor, led several of our parishioners and our school kids in prayer for peace, unity and order in our parish community area as well as for the person who perpetrated this sacrilegious act on our Blessed Mother.

In here, we request for your monetary assistance and hereby ask for your most generous donation in restoring the intricate and delicate tile painting of Mother Mary. We will also install a plexiglass casing enclosure for added security and protection. You may submit your donation thru this website, mail-in or drop-off your donation in the Parish Office and indicate Guadalupe Restoration Fund on your envelope. Thank you very much!