The vibrant, 35-foot-tall mural has caused passersby to stop, cross themselves, and take pictures of the massive image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, painted on the side of Corpus Christi Catholic Church in the Home Gardens community between Riverside and Corona.

It’s been two weeks in the making, and Mexican artist Antonio Martínez Guzmán, on Thursday, Feb. 2, was painting the finishing details, adding red roses and decorating the virgin’s mantle. He leaves for Mexico on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Church members think it’s one of the biggest images of the Virgin of Guadalupe in California.

“It’s a monumental image,” said Guzmán, who is based in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

Guzmán, who studied art at the Universidad de Guadalajara, was brought on by Corpus Christi Catholic Church member Raul Lopez, who had a family connection with the artist.

Guzmán has won numerous awards, and most recently, he was recognized by Guadalajara’s Secretary of Culture with the Jorge Martínez award for painting.

The church paid for the art supplies, and Guzmán volunteered to paint the mural, Lopez said.

“I think this mural will bring a force of spirituality,” said Lopez.

Full story at The Press-Enterprise.