Southern California beach town will ask state for permission to display famous mural at entrance to popular beachfront park

The fate of the “Surfing Madonna,” a once illegal piece of art erected on public property in a northern San Diego County beach town, is now in the hands of the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

The Encinitas City Council voted unanimously on Jan. 25 to enter a long-term agreement with the mosaic’s creator in which it will be on long-term loan to the city and displayed near the entrance of Moonlight State Beach. 

The beach is described on the state parks department website this way: “This wide, sandy beach offers swimming, surfing and fishing. Facilities include volleyball and tennis courts, recreational equipment rentals and a snack bar.”

And there lies the rub. Although the city council now looks favorably on the display of the iconic image on public property, state officials must approve its placement there before the deal can go through.

The 10-foot-square mosaic made from pieces of stained glass depicts Our Lady of Guadalupe on a surfboard and bears the slogan, “Save the Ocean.” The mural mysteriously appeared on Good Friday of 2011 on a support wall below a train trestle in Encinitas.

After the mosaic went up, it gained worldwide attention and attracted hundreds of visitors, but the Encinitas City Council voted in May 2011 that the “guerilla art” constituted graffiti and could also be interpreted as municipal endorsement of a religious symbol, so it had to be removed.

In June 2011, artist and local resident Mark Patterson came forward to say he was responsible for the mural. He reached an agreement with the city to remove the artwork from the underpass wall so that it could be relocated elsewhere.

Since then, Patterson has searched for an appropriate venue for the mosaic on private property, but apparently has not found one to his liking.

In the agreement approved by the city council last week, Patterson will provide the “Surfing Madonna” to the city on loan but retains ownership of the artwork. He must also promise in writing to cover the expenses for removal of the mosaic if someone who objects to its religious content sues the city.

“Patterson, who isn’t Catholic, has repeatedly said that his depiction of the Virgin of Guadalupe standing on a surfboard celebrates California culture, and isn’t a religious piece,” the North County Times reported.

In the meantime, the mural remains in storage until an appropriate site for its display can be found — presumably near the entrance to Moonlight Beach State Park.

Earlier requests from city representatives to relocate the “Surfing Madonna” to the state-owned site were rejected by state parks officials. But those same officials indicated they would reconsider their decision if the city council made the request, which council members unanimously agreed to do on Jan. 25.

“Council members encouraged people to lobby state parks officials Wednesday night, saying it’s now up to the state to decide whether the mosaic can go on the site,” reported the North County Times.

City documents refer to the artwork not as the “Surfing Madonna,” but as “the Save the Ocean Mosaic,” apparently in an attempt to downplay its religious imagery.


Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 1:51 AM By Catherine
I will always remember a woman telling me that when she escaped from Vietnam, her family was starving and drifting in a small boat for days in the middle of the sea. Just when everyone was about to panic and despair, she said Our Lady appeared on the water to the people in the tiny boat, comforting them and telling them they would be safe. This woman told the story with such conviction. It was a very powerful story to hear. These very grateful survivors credit God for sending his mother and they also give thanks to Our Lady for helping them on the ocean.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 4:37 AM By BETH
We should all be offended that Our Lady’s image would be used for political statements of any kind – including save the ocean. CCC: ” 2120 Sacrilege consists in profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions, as well as persons, things, or places consecrated to God. Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us.”

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 5:24 AM By Abeca Christian
Beth I respect your point of view but I don’t view this offensive. I look at the Muriel and I smile, I think it’s a positive one. I was touched by Catherine’s comments. It explained why I smiled at the Muriel. Someone loves our beautiful mum so much that they were inspired in this way. I usually don’t care for images painted, especially ones that seem gaudy or in poor taste but this one just does not strike me as poor taste.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 6:11 AM By Nan
The artist does not love ‘our beautiful mum’. He is not Catholic, and said his art is not a religious statement. He is trying to make a political statement distorting Catholic icons. Next we could see her image selling skate boards, in front of abortion clinics stating women want free choice, etc. We must stop the abuse now, before it gets worse. Our Lady never rode a surf board. Let’s keep our art historically correct.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 6:38 AM By JLS
Faithful Catholics in a state of grace are free in Jesus. Jesus tells us, “Know the truth and the truth shall set you free”: In a state of grace, one knows the truth, and is thus set free. Also, St Paul explains about the purpose of the law, which is for those who break it, not for those who don’t.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 6:42 AM By JLS
It is great when anyone honors God or His Mother. BETH and Nan, the next time you say anything about God, and you have not yet attained the Beatific Vision, you’ll have to go to Confession for sacrilege, right?

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 6:48 AM By Ted
Whatever the artist’s intent, if someone is harmed by this in any way, I’d be very surprised. There are enough real issues to argue about without making one up. If you passionately acre about this, redirect your feelings to something that may actually matter – please !

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 7:33 AM By anna ryan
Wow! I imagine Mary playing with Jesus when He was growing up. I wonder what toys they played with throughout the day? Who knows? I pray the Surfing Madonna goes up right where every surfer and beach user waks by and is touched by her being there and healed by prayers from people like me who.will pray for conversions to come from this art.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 7:54 AM By Catherine
Abeca, I see clearly that you love lemonade! Yesterday, I asked what would be the reaction if Muslims were told they could no longer kneel. Notice how Mark Patterson even hides behind the protective motherly mantle of Our Lady even though he professes to not be making any religious statements. This mural is a tremendous opportunity to turn a lemon into lemonade. If there is a Legion of Mary in this area, this would be an ideal spot to set up a bookbarrow. A bookbarrow is a portable bookstall placed in a public location on a busy street. Experience has shown the immense value of this Legion Work. This is one way to bring the Church to many. Rosaries and pamphlets explaining how to say the rosary, books explaining the faith and other friendly dialogue always takes place. This is a great way to extend an invitation to Catholics who have not gone to Church in years and to all interested passers by. Many mothers with buggies in tow take information about having their baby baptized. There are also many opportunities to discuss the Bible with Protestants. It is amazing to see the welcome response in the public square. One might initially think that this work would be awkward or difficult but the extremely positive reaction of the people always proves the hunger to truly know and love God. With a Legion of Mary bookbarrow, the outcome of such a friendly discussion about this mural would truly reinforce belief in our Lady’s words in Holy Scripture. “My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord!”

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 9:24 AM By JLS
When I was a raging pagan … no, heathen … and knew almost nothing about Catholicism … in my early college days in the sixties and seventies, these sorts of things made favorable impressions that never faded away. I would also mysteriously be aware that the essense of such symbols was distinct from the imperfections they might be embedded in … after all, was Baby Jesus not layed in a manger of straw? Are there not parables about such chaff blowing away in the wind or being burned away by fire which leaves the pure gold?

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 9:28 AM By Maryanne Leonard
Nan, thank you for posting the truth. This work is not in any way respectful to Our Lady, nor was it intended to be. As a Catholic and a mosaic artist, I denounce it on religious, moral, historical, and legal grounds and pronounce it without artistic or aesthetic merit whatsoever. It is trash, and this is heinous exploitation of the dignity of religious symbolism. I hope faithful Catholics will become increasingly aware that Our Lady is being mocked, as are with, with this failed, offensive and ugly work of pseudo-pop art. I think Jesus would rip this right off the wall and use this man as an example of how not to defile the image of His, and Our, Blessed Mother.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 9:57 AM By RR
Sorry, guys, but I think this is terrible and disrespectful to our Blessed Mother! I think it is a total disgrace! I’m kinda shocked at a few of the reactions of some of the usual posters here. Posters who I thought would be offended, approve of this. I’m definitely NOT seeing anything positive about it. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of Americas, Empress of Latin America, and Protectress of the Unborn Children. She is NOT a surfer chick. It’s a disgrace of the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe! I have a great sense of humor and I see NOTHING funny about this at all! UGH!

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 10:33 AM By MIKE
” Juan returned to the bishop. As he opened his tilma (a type of pancho), the roses fell to the floor. All who were present were startled to see an image of Our Lady on the tilma. Today this image is still preserved on Juan Diego’s tilma, which hangs over the main altar in the basilica at the foot of Tepeyac Hill just outside of Mexico City. In the image, Our Lady is pregnant, carrying the Son of God in her womb. Her head is bowed in homage, indicating that she is not the Goddess, but rather the one who bears and at the same time worships the one true God.” – Priests for Life web site. What pregnant woman carrying the Son of God would endanger herself or her Child by surfing ? Blasphemy.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 10:46 AM By Philippe
I see nothing disgraceful about an image that might lead to curiosity and first discovery of Our Lady by someone. As for others, what can be disgraceful about being reminded of her while enjoying an aspect of contemporary life and recreation.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 10:50 AM By Catherine
Not to worry RR, some of my original post was carefully edited, probably due to political correctness that might be too inflammatory. I can assure you that Abeca and I do not find the photo funny, but we do see the reality of disrespect for the sacred that has been hoisted upon society. I would like to remind you that in many newly built or renovated churches in our diocese, having a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe or a picture of a saint, is considered too repetitious. This is what I find more shocking. I am not shocked by pagan behavior artwork placed out in the world to inflame others. I expect a pagan to behave like a pagan. The good news is… pagans can sometimes be converted. We do have the opportunity to make something good out of all injustices. This never means that we find injustices funny. These are dark and difficult times and unless there is unity in even allowing or discussing the usage of more than one picture of Our Lady in a Catholic Church, we will be faced with these types of displays in the public forum. As long as this is the case, we can use these situations as an opportunity to bring the true gospel to others. Yeah Maryanne! Good job! I want you speaking up! I’m counting on you for those communion rails!

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 10:51 AM By Anthony
I think that God ‘meets’ people where they are. For me, I was into hard rock, and God used that to convert me. If I were a ‘heathen’ surfer, I’d find myself connected to this image in a positive way. It would bring me closer to Mary because She likes surfing as I do. Remember how the Pharisees accused Jesus of being a ‘wine bibber’ and hanging out with the ‘wrong crowd’? Maybe He came to heal the sick sinner and not the saints. There’s got to be a relationship between these Scripture passages and what’s going on with this Madonna mosaic.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 11:12 AM By Brian S.
As for historical grounds, I’ve seen lots of prints – normally they are hung in young boy’s bedrooms – that show Jesus playing baseball with kids, and it never occured to me that I should object because baseball was never played in first-century Galilee. For that matter, I’ve seen Mary protrayed as African, Asian, and Nordic, even though I’m confident she physically resembled none of racial types. As for being protrayed as a “surfer chick”, get a grip. I’ve seen all the “Gidget” and all the “Beach Blanket” movies and none of the surfer chicks were dressed like this.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 1:23 PM By AL
We should all care about the respect or lack of respect shown to Our Blessed Mother. This is just the start in the USA. The Blessed Mother has appeared to others in their native racial types.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 2:10 PM By RR
Brian S.: I do not need to get a grip. You need a dose of reality. This is NOT what Mother Mary is to be portrayed as. She is the Mother of our Savior and should NOT be portrayed in this blasphemous way or any other such way.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 2:22 PM By RR
Anthony: This is not a way to get people to relate to Our Savior’s Mother. These are the reasons why there are abuses in the Church and Mass today. Let’s just bring, say for instance, slot machines to church. After all some people like to gamble. That will get the gamblers back to church or lead them there. Let’s put Mother Mary’s image on the slot machines. Let’s put a statue of Mother Mary smoking outside the Church. That will get the smokers to come to the Church. Are you suggesting hard rock Masses would have brought you to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Aposotlic Mass? Get the point? There is only ONE way to bring people to God and Mother Mary and that is by depicting them as holy and pure and with the respect and sanctity that they deserve. God will NOT be mocked and neither will His Mother.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 3:27 PM By Abeca Christian
Nan for your info, I did not know the info that you knew about the artist, I no not know of him, I am sorry that you felt the need to mock me because of my ignorance. I would of preferred if you just presented the facts about the artist and allow people to discern, but mocking my words, oh well I have to accept. Now here is my take as to why I commented as I did: I love surfing folks, for those that do not know me, I guess to me personally it touched me differently because I love our blessed mum and probably didn’t see malice in this art form but I did disclose that normally I don’t care for such art work from the secular division for sometimes they are gaudy or in poor taste. Nan I didn’t mean to offend you or others. My apologies, what can I do to correct my views on this, when I only saw something that is a reminder of my beautiful mum, I hope that through this, the artist may convert someday.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 3:34 PM By Abeca Christian
Catherine thank you for your posts, I think you understand me, I don’t know anymore, after reading many of these comments, I had to reflect, could I be wrong to have not seen this as harmful? Growing up in my teens, I had a surfer friends, I knew that some wore the St. Christopher medal and I know that if I saw this Muriel back then, It would of been a great conversation piece for me to invite more surfers to Mass. That was the type of teen I was, I knew that surfers needed not only Christian outreach things but they needed more Catholicity to bring them to attend Mass. Maybe I am naive and ignorant, May our Blessed Mum forgive me if I am wrong. I never want to offend our Lord nor our blessed mum.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 3:46 PM By Abeca Christian
Catherine good examples you gave kneeling too, sorry I didn’t respond, you are right. This is lemonade. May the artist convert though his refusal to place any religious significance. MIKE I think that if my grandmum was alive, she would of agreed with you, I guess I had become too modern and since I love surfing, I saw it as a positive step for surfers to be reminded of something positive in our Lady and that she loves us all, surfers or not, she loves us all. In case I may be wrong, I will try to keep my opinions hidden so that I do not mislead others. God bless you all! But in the meantime can you please pray for our surfers, they can use more Catholicity in their lives, they are our youth, would be nice to reach them in their level and inspire them to open their hearts to our Lady. This artist may or may not have malice intent on why he painted this, but whatever reason he did this, we can use it for good and reach out to our youth, on the surfers arena too. California is so liberal, would be nice to have more conversions, sometimes with faith, we can reach out to those in their level of maturity and sometimes as something as this.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 3:57 PM By Abeca Christian
I appreciate how the surfing Madonna is dressed modestly. May young girls who surf, may they choose more modest attire when in the water. If this Muriel is considered in God’s eye’s as a sacrilege, God forgive me for not recognizing this. I recall when I was newly married, at Saint John of the Cross, there was a new priest who also loved surfing, he dressed like a priest all the time except for surfing, he was able to reach out to the younger kids and even my husband and I, we definitely took our faith more seriously by his great example, but what made him upset was when the elders complained about his surfing. He said that he loved surfing and didn’t understand why he had to give it up when he became a priest. He loved the ocean and great out doors.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 4:20 PM By Brian S
RR, I’m willing to listen, but you’ve haven’t told me how or why this protrayal is blasphemous. From your slot machine crack I accept that you oppose Bingo, but from your confusion of a bad habit (smoking) with vice, I wonder if you think that surfing is evidence that one is less holy or pure.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 4:52 PM By Maggie
I agree with Ted. Chill out people.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 6:09 PM By RR
Abeca: You really don’t have to apologize to anyone. Everyone knows how you love God and Mother Mary. Sometimes we say things and on further thought we would like to take it back. I do this all the time. Sometimes I don’t think before I speak. What you said didn’t offend me and probably not a lot of others. I was a little shocked you said what you did, but you just said what you were feeling at the time. I know you enough to know that you would never approve of blasphemous things.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 6:43 PM By JLS
It works.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 6:44 PM By JLS
Spend a few minutes reading the descriptions of Blessed Mary Ever Virgin in the Litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary. There are images of her that do not look the same as the statues we see, but they are holy images.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 7:02 PM By JLS
The Fatima statues depict Her as a white European. Guadalupe Tilma depicts her as Indigenous Mexican, perhaps Aztec. The Holy Eucharist, Who is the Body and Blood of Jesus, looks like bread and wine. God the Father painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel looks like an old European white man with a white beard; no doubt Michaelangelo and Pope Alexander VI (was it?) did their best to honor God. Sometimes you see depictions of saints who look effeminate, and I do not believe they were. Simon Magus caste out demons in the name of Jesus, although with the motive of making money … This served to get people to wondering who Jesus is. Jesus Himself appeared as a child to St Christopher, and probably one of the same ethnic appearance … which would not have been like any Jew in Palestine in the first century A.D. St Augustine is presented as a white European but he was from north Africa, and is believed to have had dark skin by many devout Catholics. How many Catholic surfers have there been … tell me that Blessed Mary Ever Virgin never was with any of them when they were on a board. How many surfers have converted to Catholicism when they realized something about Blessed Mary while surfing? Was She ever on an aircraft carrier or submarine during WWII? Sometimes She looks like she is made out of plaster wearing clothing that is middle ages or renaissance European and not near eastern of fifteen hundred years earlier in history. Blessed Mary Ever Virgin was not a white European woman. Yet, reading Her descriptions in Her Litany, one sees that she has many amazing appearances. Hollywood costume designers can only envy the variety and have to realize they can never match it. No artist can. She is the Queen of Heaven; artists have no vision of Heaven, yet Blessed Mary reigns their in splendor, and she knows how to convey Herself through anyone who makes an attempt to present Her. She is the Queen, not the subject.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 7:04 PM By JLS
St Paul pointed out an idol to the “unknown god” to a gathering of Corinthian idol merchants, and told them it represented Jesus Christ. That idol served Paul in converting countless souls to the Real Jesus.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 8:11 PM By George 
It is insane naiveté by the artist that sees no religious aspect to his work. In fact his work demonstrates irreligion and disrespect for Mexican culture and the Catholic religion who venerate our Holy Mother as she appeared pregnant with our Lord and Savior. God saved the Mexican nation through His Son and our Lady’s appearance from the cruelty of pagan worship and human sacrifice. We should organize a campaign against the Encinitas City Council to remove this work as it offends Catholics and our Holy Mother.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 8:29 PM By k
Whatever the intentions of the artist, it is an image of the Mother of God and worthy of veneration and respect. Many of the miraculous statues of Our Lady are very rudimentary, yet Our Lord permitted Our Lady to work miracles through devotion to them.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 8:44 PM By JLS
Let the City of Encinitas place a statue of George there in its place, as something truly holy is required.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 8:50 PM By JLS
What is not coming through some posts here is faith in God and the Saints to work through the efforts and artifacts of men. Art is symbolic, unlike the Real Presence in a Catholic Church. I guess when people do not believe in the Real Presence, then they try to make every religious symbol into the Real Presence … guess they’ve been secretly ordained to consecrate statues and paintings into the Real Presence. Had I only known!

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 9:05 PM By Gospa
I agree wholeheartedly with those who are objecting to this image. The fact is, that it is disrespectful in content. Our Lady, to us Catholics, is a person to be honored and respected, not used to promote a personal agenda of a non believer.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 9:50 PM By Anne T.
Ahem! as I said previouly in another article about this, “I do not live in that area so I will let the “natives” decide whether to keep this mosaic or not.. Fight on my good friends, but just don’t get your noses too bloody. (Lots of laughs.)

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 10:51 PM By Abeca Christian
Leave it to JLS to bring some humor to these comments. JLS you are special in your own way. LOL RR thank you for your comments. I guess one of my faults is that I am a very romantic person, I romanticize and think of the possibilities of evangelizing when sometimes I could be wrong and forget the reality of things. I like surfing and can connect our blessed mum with it, not knowing that it can be unacceptable to sacred images, so you are right, I need to ask God to help me with this error of mine. I have become more open minded in order to evangelize but that does not mean that it is always in the right direction, so everyone’s point of view, is very helpful. God bless you all. Here is the shocker, I showed my teen daughter this article and asked her what she really thought….She said it was not right and it was disrespectful to Mary. Wow! My teenager who is going through those tough teen years, may have actually taught me something.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 10:59 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Our Lady has often spoken of the evils committed at “places of summer resort”. Does anyone really believe that she wants Her image at a Beach where most are almost naked? I stopped going to the beaches a long time ago for that very reason. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 11:18 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Just wait till the ACLU gets ahold of this. If they don’t protest, you know it is really not good. Our Lady has constantly complained about immodesty, and where can you experience immodesty in terrible abundance, the BEACHES!! Pregnant women, should never surf! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 11:26 PM By Abeca Christian
‘Woe to him who neglects to recommend himself to Mary, and thus closes the channel of grace!’ St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 12:46 AM By Anne T.
I guess a better word for me to have used instead of “natives” is “locals”.

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 3:39 AM By RR
Brian S. : I am NOT objecting to surfing, gambling, smoking..! You totally missed the boat on that one. It’s the portrayal of Mother Mary as a surfer, or anything else for that matter, that is wrong. It is wrong to portray our Blessed Mother as anything but holy.

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 8:20 PM By Mark
I am Mark, the guy who made the Save the Ocean mosaic. I never meant any disrespect to the Virgin of Guadalupe, or to those who love Her. And yes I am not Catholic, but I am a Christian, even if I am far from a perfect one. And I must tell you that the Virgin came to me 3 times over the course of 5 years – and I felt completely inspired by Her when I made the mosaic. The first time She came to me was in 2005, as a drawing in my sketchbook. She appeared with a crown of stars and was on a surfboard, surfing with two dolphins next to Her. And Her message was “Save the Ocean.” At the time I really liked the image but didn’t think much more about it. Then She showed up in my sketchbook again in 2008. Then She showed up again in my sketchbook in 2009. And after this 3rd appearance, I really felt compelled to listen to Her message. I spent significant time doing the drawing this time, and this sketch was very complete. And again Her message was: save the ocean. But another year passed, and that August of 2010, I went on vacation to Italy. A friend suggested I might enjoy doing a course in mosaics while I was there. I thought it would be interesting to go to Italy with an actual purpose to learn something new. So I went, and signed up for an introductory course at the school in Ravenna. Mid-way through the course, I showed my teacher a photo of the Virgin of Guadalupe and asked her to help me learn how to make Her face in mosaic. My teacher thought I was being overly ambitious since I had never studied mosaics before. But she set me off separately from the rest of the class and let me figure things out on my own. Ten days later I was heading home with the face of the Virgin done in various warm colors of Italian marble. When I got home, I was completely inspired about making the mosaic. I had been working at Microsoft for the previous 5 years, and when I got home, it became clear to me that it was time for me to quit Microsoft and make this mosaic. I quit my job on October 1st, 2010 and then spent the next 9 months, living off my savings, and working and learning. I learned some important lessons during that 9 months, the primary

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 8:52 PM By JLS
Anne T., how about the phrase “indigenous peoples”? Or “peoples of the surf board”?

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 8:58 PM By JLS
Her holiness is capable of shining through such an artistic rendition, and affecting people with the love of God, awakening this search in some souls.

Posted Friday, February 03, 2012 10:25 PM By Brian S.
RR, how does this picture show Mary as unholy? It shows her surfing and enjoying the ocean. I do think that this work is being elevated above its artistic station. It would have been better left in its original location and context – not unlike most art.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 5:23 AM By Abeca Christian
Mark thank you for commenting, believe me when I say that I have been praying about this and also praying for you, and here you are posting. I guess the ill gossip about you was truly unjust, I knew that when a non-Catholic does such artwork, there must be something good. Why else would someone not from our faith want to be reminded of our lady. God bless you, I welcome you to our Catholic faith and discover more of it’s beauty.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 6:59 AM By Larry
I find it very odd and inconsistent that Mary is now begging for the ocean to be saved, when in her previous apparitions such as Fatima, she pleaded for the salvation of human souls. The human race is certainly not less sinful now than, say, 1917. And by the way–save the ocean from what? And by what means? Praying the Rosary? Going surfing every day? The human race is far too puny to either destroy or rescue the ocean. The ocean is fine. It’s not in danger. It is people who are.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 7:24 AM By JLS
Mary Star of the Sea.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 8:08 AM By Mannyy
I am astounded by so many diverse comments about the surfing Madonna. The Blessed Mother appeared at Lourdes, Fatima, Akita, Rwanda, and other countless locations when she was needed. So many have claimed of faith renewal, conversions, and going back to God by these apparitions and appearances. Our freedom of speech allow us to interpret anything and speak freely what we think. Our religious freedom allow us to believe or not to believe in God. I do not know what the artist was thinking when he created this ‘art’. Reading all the comments, I conclude that there is no right or wrong interpretation. So we must respect each others’ views no matter how these differ from ours, because of the aforementioned freedoms. The bottomline is this. For the believers, curious onlookers may view the surfing Madonna as a wake up call to correct the immodesty on the beaches. Others may visit St. John’s to say a prayer or two. Fr. Donald Calloway, the famous surfer priest, goes around the world speaking about his conversion from a criminal teen past to a servant of God. God uses others, things or events to bring back those who astrayed or to convert the unbelievers. He may be using the surfing Madonna, which has attracted worldwide attention, to bring the faithful closer to Him.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 9:12 AM By David Lopez
I think this painting does not give honor to our Lady. She did not appear to “save the ocean.” She appeared to save souls. Moreover, our Lady stands with her heal crushing the serpent’s head, not a surfboard. In short, the painting trivializes Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 9:32 AM By Anne T.
JLS, if you think I had trouble with that one, just see all the trouble I have in California explaining the difference between those of East Indian descent and native American Indians as some people who are native American Indian do prefer the term Indian.unless one uses their tribal name. One person who was part Apache told me that since they were given the name Indian by Columbus they resent having it taken back. And if one says something that is considered pro-Israel to someone from the Middle East who is Palestinian that person may want to hit you up the side of the head, and if you say the opposite to an Israeli here in California, they might want to do the same. Oh, well to each his own. Needless to say, I am very cautious anymore what I say to people. Sometimes I say nothing of all if they are within hitting distance. I think we have all gone through that in our lives, especially here in California.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 9:48 AM By Anne T.
Actually, Mark, I think your mosaic is rather pretty, and Our Lady is dressed modestly, unlike the one they have in a certain area where she is dressed in a bikini. Now that one is definitely sacrilegious and worth fighting over. Just, please, save the babies along with the ocean. I think we can do both.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 9:53 AM By Maryanne Leonard
Mark, I read your post and have to say you were fortunate to get to study in Ravenna. As an artist working in mosaics myself, I would love to have had that opportunity. I do feel strongly that you have used your exposure to mosaics to depict Our Lady in an outrageously disrespectful manner, and I believe you are mocking Our Lady, as well as all of us who are faithful Catholics, by portraying the Blessed Virgin Mary on a surfboard. I am struggling to believe your story that the Virgin Mary visited you thrice. If that is so, perhaps you can turn to her for help in mending your ways. I believe you are exploiting Our Lady for your own purposes of promoting your cause and, worse, attempting to gain public recognition for your own commercial gain by insulting the dignity of Our Lady. I find your work offensive and your post yet another attempt to promote yourself. I would love to be wrong and to see you look into converting to the Catholic faith. How is it that you happened upon a Catholic website, may I ask?

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 10:23 AM By Anne T.
Nevertheless, Mark, although your intentions were good, the mosiac is found offensive by some people. I, myself, have no problem with most sports St. Christopher medals or pictures of Our Lord behind a Little leaguer for children and youth, but some people do find them offensive, and we must take their feelings into consideration when placing such objects. Anyway, I will bow out of this dispute now. I have said enough.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 10:57 AM By Anne T.
I will add just one thing to David Lopez. David just as I get upset with those who change beloved traditional Christmas carols, I do understand your point of view about changing the traditional picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The one on my wall is traditional. Nevertheless, I do not believe that Mark made his moaic out of disrespect any more than those sports pictures of Our Lord are done out of disrespect. That is just my opinion.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 11:23 AM By Debbie
Mark, I don’t know who appeared to you, but it was NOT the Blessed Mother Mary. She would never put out a message like “Save the Ocean” when people need the saving. Further Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared as pregnant with Our Lord in Mexico. If your message was “Stop Abortion”, we could believe you.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 11:38 AM By k
Mark, you said you were Chiristian and not Catholic. Do you know the story of our Lady of Guadalupe? Do you know that she is the patroness of the Americas? Do you know that she is also the patroness of the unborn? Thank you for sharing your story with us. I wish you would finish your post. (Everyone gets cut off at 1500 words. You can post again.) You were saying that you learned some important lessons during the 9 months. Matthew 22:14

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 11:43 AM By JLS
The natural world suffered the Fall and is to be renewed by God … guess how … through us. As we are meant to be a temple of the Holy Spirit, so the earth is our residence in a similar way … And yes the ocean is vulnerable to destruction and needs to be saved. When you dismiss out of hand those who you might label as “eco freaks”, you make a grave error. Even Pagans are well capable of knowing and understanding nature, and often they do so more than faithful Catholics because they place their lives and hopes on it, just as the faithful place their lives on Heaven. Applied science has long now produced things that destroy water, land and air and the creatures in them. Radiation, heavy metals, chemicals, hormones, and more are causing damage to life forms other than human. If you can find no respect for what God has created, then of course you’d ignore it. The brother of the prodigal son said he’d honor his father but didn’t, and the prodigal son said he wouldn’t but did … see the situation?

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 11:46 AM By JLS
Some of Her titles, and I wonder how she got them: Mystical rose, Tower of David, Tower of ivory, House of gold, Ark of the Covenant, Gate of Heaven, Morning star, Health of the sick, Refuge of sinners

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 12:40 PM By Talitha Kum
@Artist Mark. I am shocked @ myself for NOT being offended by The Surfing Madonna, as I am ‘that lady’; the one who finds classical/religious & pop culture crossover art tasteless, @ least and blasphemous all too often. Seeing Our Lady surfing brought a smile and ‘Praise God!’ lifting my dour, fallen heart. Thank you Mark for your obedience to inspiration. Thanks 4 posting your artist comments. I knew you were inspir-ed B4 you recounted your process 2us. (Confirmed ‘I-knew-it’ is always welcomed tho!) That a human created something so unexpected and giddy stirred in me a pure sense of God’s love for ME and has refreshed my soul with Hope. Before I happened upon this piece(how did I happen upon this piece?) I was suffering despair. Praying at last in total surrender & trust I asked 2B cradled; went 2 reconciliation; Mass and Holy Communion; found your mosaic. Here’s Y it brings me joy. Note; Our Lady has a posture of prayer and demonstrates one who places all trust in Our Lord.She is appears to be one with the waves. She appears 2 B filled with Zeal, Joy,Humility and Humanity. 1)Zeal =Courage. 2)JOY in creation, in having a physical body to experience what even angels cannot enjoy. This sporting mosaic teaches me “my body is a gift and a temple and there are many invigorating ways to be engaged in the natural world without sexual sin.” 3) HUMILITY: she is fully, royally robed yet Mothers modesty does not preclude participation. To the contrary; billowing garb suggest lift, not the draft of drenched clothing. Her shod feet are firmly, safely planted on a dry surface. 4)HUMANITY: I sense an invitation to fully engage life as a corporal being. There seems a youthful trust & spiritual glee GOD Our Father will provide for & protect us & play w/us! And so we dare 2 embrace the power, the energy and motion of a wave. And a wave rushes -where? to shore. As a wave returns to shore; God’s playful child must return to Him. This mosaic confirms my faith & joy!

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 2:51 PM By Brian S.
Larry, this is an artwork, not an apparition. But I wonder if Jesus, depicted with the caption “Care for the Poor”, would draw similar fire from those here. I’m afraid so.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 4:18 PM By RR
The devil appears to people also in different forms. The saints tell us this. I’m not saying this is what happened here, but I just can’t see Mother Mary wanting to be depicted this way. I agree with everything Maryanne Leonard said in her post at 9:53 A.M.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 5:39 PM By JLS
Man is not a robot, and can discern the devil from the holy ones.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 5:54 PM By JLS
Hang ten, Mark, and keep with your artistic inspiration. The people who are trashing you know nothing of art or creativity, nothing of the people who are artists or creative. Such people constantly and predictively attack those who exhibit intelligence, creativity, no matter what expression is put forth. Not only this, but such people attack nascent Christian inspiration in those who are just discovering the good things of Christ. They throw out the babies with the bathwater. Jesus and St Paul say considerable about how God works in the lives of anyone. Notice that some of my posts explained the situation, and yet the whited walls filled with dead men’s bones and their disciples have ignored it and continued on to attack you and your work. As you can see I hold out little mercy for those who attack out of a dullness of heart, mind, soul and strength … because I spent decades being assaulted by them as I moved forward with my Catholicism, taking great comfort in reading saints who typically go through the same “hazing” by those who poke at them out of the barely lit caves they are ever afraid to come out of. I think the classic term for the style of my indignation is Church Militant. Or in American tradition, “Damn the torpedos and full steam ahead”. Blessed Mary Ever Virgin is certainly not afraid to visit those on the ocean, whether on boards or on ships. She did a fine job on the ocean at Lepanto, and can do a splendid job of answering prayer in the surf along the California coast as well. God is with us, but sadly many simply cannot see Him; yet happily many others can, and relate their experiences in many creative ways.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 6:18 PM By Larry
“Larry, this is an artwork, not an apparition.” Mark, the artist, has told us that Mary appeared to him–so it is artwork based on an alleged apparition. “But I wonder if Jesus, depicted with the caption ‘Care for the Poor’, would draw similar fire from those here. I’m afraid so.” That’s a gratuitous shot, Brian S, since caring for those in poverty is a spiritual work of mercy that goes back all the way to Jesus. We have plenty of approved apparitions, such as Lourdes and Fatima.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 6:37 PM By k
Save the Ocean is the prayer to her.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 7:02 PM By Maryanne Leonard
RR, thank you for your post, and I agree with your comments as well.

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 7:37 PM By JLS
Where were the cradle Catholics when souls like Mark were beginning to respond to the stirrings of God?

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 7:52 PM By Catherine
Debbie, Excellent! Talitha Kum, Are you by any chance a criminal defense attorney?

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 8:12 PM By JLS
“talitha kum” is aramaic for “little girl, rise”, which Jesus said when He raised a dead girl back to life. Isn’t Jesus continuing to say this to “Eve”? Why are some criticizing how He says it?

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 8:38 PM By Brian S.
Mark, thank you for creating this and thank you for commenting here. God bless you.

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 6:42 AM By Anne T.
Welcome back Talitha Kum, you with the beautiful name. After reading your lovely post, I thought of something and just had to put in “my two cents” again. I have a book put out by Ignatius Press called “Maiden and Mother, Prayers/Hymns/Songs and Devotions To Honour the Blessed Virgin Mary” selected and arranged by M.M.Miles. There are devotions in it to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Walsingham and Our Lady Star of the Ocean and Star of the Sea among others. Included in the selections is this beautiful hymn: “Hail Queen of Heav’n, the ocean star, guide of the wand’rer here below; thrown on life’s surge, we claim thy care:save us from peril and from woe. Mother of Christ, Star of the Sea, pray for the wanderer, pray for me. O gentle, chaste and spotless Maid, we sinnners make our prayers through thee; remind thy Son that he has paid the price of our iniquity. Virgin most pure, Star of the Sea, pray for the sinner, pray for me.” This hymn goes on for two more stanzas, but there is another one that starts: “Hail, thou star of ocean, portal of the sky: ever Virgin Mother of the Lord most high. Oh! by Gabriel’s AVE, uttered long ago, EVA’s name reversing ‘stablish peace below.” There are more, too, using her title Star of the Ocean or Star of the Sea. If our lady had no problem appearing to us with her feet crushing an evil snake and on the moon, why not a surfboard? How many European sailors saw St. Nicholas, the patron of sailors, walking or riding on the the waves, then when they returned to land and to a church, they lit a candle and thanked him for his intercession for their safety. Perhaps if Mark puts the name Our Lady Star of the Sea on his mosaic, and some church by that name let’s him keep it there, it might not be so offensive to some. After all, Our Lady of Guadalupe, when she actually appeared, did not have a green mantle as some have painted her but a turquoise one. Perhaps under that title some would not be so offended.

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 6:47 AM By Anne T.
By the way, Mark, I love her shoes. You even covered her feet, so no one can fault you for making her immodest.

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 8:03 AM By Talitha Kum
RE: Catherine 7:52pm; even one of the two theives, a bona fide nere-do-well, was repentant and asked for intercession and mercy. He was the only wretch to be promised that mercy, and therefore eternal life in paradise, by Christ, INRI, while He was yet a man among us. St. Dysmus, pray for us.

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 8:55 AM By Catherine
Yes, JLS, we certainly remember that “talitha kum” means “little girl arise.” Many Catholics also remember, “If the slogan, the surfboard and and the surfing shoes just don’t fit, it is best to prayerfully discern before you completely acquit”. In the same manner that you do not want anyone to squelch the stirrings of a potential convert, you cannot be disappointed in those who do view this as disrespectful. You ask, “Where were the cradle Catholics when souls like Mark were beginning to respond to the stirrings of Christ?” They were and they are in the same places where God sent them to you when you had your initial stirrings. JLS, God does work in mysterious ways. I remember a woman telling a group of Catholics that Dr. Edward Allred performed her abortion. Right after the abortion, he told her, “Oh, just in case you wanted to know, the baby was a boy.” This happened when she was in high school and she was Catholic. After her abortion she left the practice of her Catholic faith for many years. She joined a Protestant Church but deep down inside she was not at peace and she had now surrounded herself with those who never lovingly challenged her and never brought up the seriousness of the sin of abortion. After many years away from the sacraments, do you know what turned her heart around? It was the truthful harshness of a Catholic priest that awakened in her the seriousness of what she had done. She admitted that all the time she went searching for other faiths in other denominations, *not one* person ever made her realize that what she had done was that offensive to God. It was the seemingly harsh to some yet very loving actions of a faithful priest, who was also a fierce protector of souls, that brought her back home to the Catholic Faith. Now, we have a teaching moment for everyone. The artist, named Mark who worked on this mosaic has learned just how protective Catholics are regarding Images of Our Lady. Mark is always welcome to come home too!

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 10:25 AM By Talitha Kum
@Anne T. Thank you for welcoming me back. This simple gesture is deeply meaningful to me. truly, thank you.

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 11:11 AM By Anne T.
Here is another hymn in that same book, Mark, that applies most aptly to Our Lady of Guadalupe if you want but calls Mary the star of the wave. It is entitled Hail, Mother Most Pure. “Hail, Mother most pure, hail, Virgin renowned, hail, Queen with the the stars as a diadem crowned; above all the angels, in glory untold, standing next to the King in a vesture of gold; O Mother of mercy, O star of the wave, O hope of the guilty, O light of the grave; through you may we come to the haven of rest, and see heaven’s King in the courts of the blest. Amen.” Perhaps she will lead surfers to heaven on a surfboard to the Lord Jesus. At least this hymn does suggest it.

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 11:19 AM By Anne T.
Mark, a most apt title for your mosaic, if some would not be so “uptight”, would be Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star of the Ocean, Star of the Wave and Sea as all those great hymns imply.

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 11:25 AM By Anne T.
It is a great gift you have given us, Mark, if only we have eyes to see.

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 11:43 AM By Anne T.
By the way, my fellow Catholics and Christians and other seekers, Our Lady of Walsingham in the English shrine at Wasingham is called “The Virgin by the Sea”. One English hymn to her says, “Be thou the Star that lights our sea.” Ignatius Press is called “the Pope’s Press”. There is nothing in any of their books that is heretical. The old English hymn to Our Lady of Walsingham uses the word “worship” in the older English sense of the word — to honor, to venerate, not to adore as we only do for God.

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 12:06 PM By JLS
It is really good to see several people who can verbally articulate the nature of art. So many, most if not almost all people are so involved with their work, trades, professions, and businesses that they have little time at all to put into the time consuming and often tedious task of not only reading but learning how to read and evaluate and understand primary sources of reality, especially Church documents spanning ancient times to now. Too bad we do not have much of a monastic system anymore, as it takes a considerable monastic “force” to generate what we need today without the constraint and bias that always goes with the costs of men’s and women’s time, energy and life. However, we can all find ways to express what we are led to express by incorporating our daily lives with what we know and believe.

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 12:11 PM By Anne T.
Maybe, just maybe, Mark, you could put “save the babies on the other side.”

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 4:34 PM By Maryanne Leonard
I see that some of the posters here are actually convinced that this blasphemous work of commonplace crafting is truly worthy of being categorized as art, and in fact is respectful to the Virgin Mary, ever holy. I am both appalled and saddened that some of my fellow Catholics fail to perceive the mockery inherent in this offensive misuse of the Virgin Mary’s image. I am reminded yet again that there is no accounting for taste, but I truly thought the mocking disrespect in this funster’s misapprehension of Our Lady’s holy image as a funky surfer chick would be apparent to anyone. While I don’t feel myself unable to “verbally articulate the nature of art,” having loved, studied and created art for the vast majority of my 69 years on the planet, this particular piece of craft work (folks, it isn’t “art”) leaves me almost speechless, as does blasphemy of every sort.

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 7:40 PM By JLS
The ocean was mentioned at least twice in the Epistle today … it is a symbol of baptism. If you put the symbols together well, then Mark’s artistry looks pretty good. This fear over whether the inspiration comes from the devil or from Heaven really needs to be upgraded. A. Man in a state of grace is more than a match for the devil; B. state of grace in its fullest meaning includes Heaven.

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 9:47 PM By JLS
Maryanne, when you spend your days dealing with people of all sorts of faiths, and when those faiths are to some extent a part of the interactions, whether covert or overt, you have to engage the individuals through their humanity, since it is our common ground. People like Mark have at least an intuition of God, and in Mark’s case, as he says, he is a Christian although not Catholic. Don’t you realize how little of Catholicism most non-Catholics are aware of? I’ve tried often to explain this, but find it incredible how ignorant so many cradle Catholics are of this fact. This is one of the reasons I often challenge cradle Catholics in such ways as, “Where were the Catholics when so and so first became aware of Christ?” My last such question received the only so far meaningful answer (from Catherine), although it was rather inarticulate due to … guess what? … due to cradle Catholics living most of their lives inside the circled wagons, which is the absolute opposite of the Great Commission to go into the world. A Catholic is no better a human being than a non-Catholic; and moreover, those Catholics who refuse to engage the efforts of the Great Commission have a lot to answer for at the Pearly Gate. Mark is not attacking God or any of God’s realm, but is responding to God. This is radically different from all the sodomites we have had to argue with incessantly, who are well enough informed of Catholicism to know the evil they purport. This artist, Mark, does not display in his post any of the attack motif at all. The blood colored dress is not the norm for Marian art; however, she may well be drenched with the blood of aborted babies in his inspirational work, and thus drenched in the Blood of Christ. Can’t get much more Catholic than this, Maryanne. New wine demands new wineskins, not old ones. And what does trumpeting your age have to do with anything, anyway?

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 10:43 PM By Abeca Christian
Maryanne Leonard I love you, you are dear to me but I think that calling this art a funky surfer chick are not the words to use. Surely looking at the art work, it does not give the impression of a funky surfer chick, not at all. It’s interesting how there are different points of view here. k I actually found yours most positive when you said that “save the ocean” was being asked of our Lady. Also JLS our post from Saturday, February 04, 2012 5:54 PM By JLS, made sense too. Since I like surfing I didn’t see anything “evil’ to connect our lady to surfing, to keep surfers safe but since I don’t know better, it’s best that I just remain neutral on this, I hope that God will show me where I’m wrong in my thinking. I want to understand Maryanne, RR etc, I know that they are devout and holy woman, so I value their input as well!

Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 11:21 PM By Brian S.
“funky surfer chick”? No, Maryanne, that image isn’t apparent, because this is a very straightforward presentation of the Virgin. There is nothing funky or “chick”-like about it. As for distinctions between “craft work” and art, what, besides snideness, is your point? Craftwork is worthy of respect.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 12:34 AM By Anne T.
Maryanne, it is outdoor art and would not go in a sanctuary. Compared to some of the horridly blasphemous stuff out there such a crucifix in urine, the Virgin Mary made with dung and the Virgin Mary in a bikini, this young man at least tried to make something decent. At least give him credit for that.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 6:33 AM By JLS
RR, Catholicism is not fundamentalism. Catholicism teaches what the Bible teaches namely that man is “very good”, albeit suffers the effects of the Fall. God works through man. Jesus is true man as well as true God. The attitude in your post that man is bad or evil only leads one to be able to justify abortion … one of the logical outcomes of your idea that man is evil. Why you have confused man with the devil, one can only guess at, but it is anything other than a Catholic doctrine. St Augustine among other doctors of the Church have refuted your claim totally. But the idea that man is bad runs rampant in public manipulation, especially by Calvinist and Lutheran ideologies, and some Jewish sects, and probably some strains of Islam also.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 9:04 AM By Maryanne Leonard
What I love about California Catholic Daily is that we are (mostly) all faithful Catholics here and see the world so differently. JLS, I mentioned my age because you wrote about people criticizing Mark’s work as being unable to “verbally articulate the nature of art,” and in my defense, I felt the need to respond that I do not feel utterly unprepared to discern that which is art and to express my opinion of it, having spent over 60 years doing so, usually quietly, but often professionally. People pay me to make things beautiful, and I do that. I also feel that, not unlike the judge who said it is difficult to define pornography, but he knows it when he sees it, that I am also able, as a Catholic, to discern irreverent works of art and know blasphemy when I see it. I grew up in a half-Catholic, half-Protestant family, went to Protestant churches with my Protestant husband for 40 years following a serious priestly abuse, and came home to Catholicism, never having abandoned it in my heart, so I am not your standard cradle Catholic and do have lots of other religious and cultural exposure to art other than Catholic art. I don’t feel the Madonna has been properly honored by Mark in his work, and if you do, that’s fine. May I suggest that this work be withheld from submission for consideration by the Vatican? I am confident it would be rejected before you got to the front door. I further expect a lot of very short Vatican hairs would be standing on end at the very sight of this blasphemous effort.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 10:54 AM By RR
JLS: My post that you responded to has been deleted. It was deleted because it was edited to the point that it DID NOT express what I meant to say at all. I also posted a second post saying to ignore that first post because it was EXTREMELY edited. This post also DID NOT get posted. In the second post that was was not posted I said for posters to not criticize me because the post made no sense and was totally edited. So, you did not get the message that I was conveying in my post. You got about 5 sentences out of a full character usage post that I originally posted. I am no longer going to post on this issue since nobody will be able to convince me that this “art” is not blasphemous and the editor will probably not post what I write. He did this once and would probably do it again. That’s my oppinion and I’m sticking with it.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 10:59 AM By Anne T.
If this is Mark’s first try at mosaic work, as he says, I would say he did a pretty good job. I cannot see it up close, but it looks pretty good from afar. I am assuming he is a fairly young man, and Blessed Pope John Paul II was much loved by our youth because he never forgot he was young once. Who knows, if Mark keeps working at it, he might be the one to make an exceptionally beautiful and holy mosaic of the Virgin mentioned in the hymn above with a vesture (robe) of gold and a crown of stars on her head while sitting at the right hand of Our Lord. Would that be holy enough for the rest of you? It would for me. All I am saying is to give him a chance and encourage him along to better and greater things. You do not have to approve of his first work in a public place, but it should have some place in our hearts merely because he said that he tried to do honor to Our Lady instead of insulting her. This is why I did decide to enter this frey against my first intuitions. I guess I got my nose bloodied a bit too, but I think it was worth it all. After all the Bible does tell us to be good stewards of the earth he gave us, and we CAN save both the children and the ocean, and in effect, our eternal souls.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 11:04 AM By Catherine
JLS, Would you not consider the Legion of Mary apostolate of going door to door to strangers and visiting strangers in convalescent homes, hospitals and downtown sidewalks the great commission? This is done in many areas. Do you think that you onIy encounter Catholics when you work, play or knock on the door of a complete stranger to bring them the Catholic faith? I do agree with you about a certain issue. You most definitely have to be able to control your initial reactions when you are the one knocking on the door of the stranger. You will always see things and hear things that internally shock you. You don’t want to win a single battle and then completely lose the war by harshly ending dialogue. You have to expect each and every challenge. Much patience and much love has to be shown, after all, they did not even come to you. You have gone directly to them. You see every different kind of incredible circumstance and this is what I meant about making lemonade out of an initial contact with something that may seem like a lemon. God works in mysterious ways. In an edited part of a previous post of mine I wrote. Only God knows the purity of intentions of this artist. Some may detest this artwork but only God knows the purity of all of our intentions. I also posted above how this mural could be a topic of discussion with a Legion of Mary bookbarow situated nearby. Maybe there is a Legion of Mary apostolate in that area to further good dialogue that brings others closer to our faith.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 11:17 AM By Anne T.
I, too, am sixty nine, Maryanne Leonard, and I enjoy watching the pro-life youth singing and dancing to the music of the Lord of the Rings while defending the children in the womb in their so-called flash mobs. As long as they keep it clean and not suggestive, I have no problem with such things. After all, it seems as if Our Lord enjoyed watching the children in the marketplace dancing from what the New Testament implies. Sometimes I get a little too “uptight”, also, but the Lord always seems to get me out of the Elder Brother, in my case Elder Sister, mode when I am truly wrong. I say bring on the fatted calf for Mark if he wants to come home sometime and maybe he will give us some truly excellent works of art in forms that are pleasing to you. Remember you had to learn at first too. Why don’t you help him?

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 11:22 AM By Anne T.
And David Lopez and all you others who are critical out there, just as Blessed Pope John Paul II gave the wonderful artist and guitarist, Tony Melendez, a chance, why don’t you give Mark a chance. Perhaps he will surprise you, and pleasantly so.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 12:35 PM By Anne T.
Maryann Leonard, you and I would not consider “kiddie” Rosaries art, or Rosaries for little boys made from basketball beads as art. Yet those things which we might not like for ourselves or our children have gotten many a child to consider praying the Rosary, and later that same child looks back on them with fondnest. Who was it who said, “Do not despise cheap things.” Oh! I know — Blessed Mother Teresa.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 12:46 PM By Anne T.
I should have written “that same child as an adult”, but I am sure everyone got the message.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 12:55 PM By Maryanne Leonard
Anne T., I definitely do not despise cheap things and agree with Blessed Mother Teresa most assuredly. In fact, mosaic works of both art and craft level are quite often and quite beautifully created from cast-offs, including broken objects, stones, etc., many of which are virtually free. What offends and saddens me is not cheap things; it is exquisite and honorable things cheapened. As to your suggestion to help Mark, of course one must first be asked. I think he has a lot of promise and certainly understands the use of color and is likely to do well on his own with practice and more exposure to classes at Ravenna and elsewhere which are readily available and would not subject him to a detractor. I’d much rather help him become a Catholic and feel that in time he might come to realize the wondrous beauty of the love and grace of Our Holy Mother and represent her, should he choose to do so, far more respectfully and lovingly in his work. That, however, should it happen, is likely to be the purview of those far better prepared to help him than I. Your thought, however, was a Christian one, and I love the spirit in which you suggested it.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 3:11 PM By Anne T.
Maryanne Leonard, that was a wonderful answer. God bless you. You have a good heart, and may you have great success in all your endeavors in the artistic world.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 6:50 PM By Anne T.
I forgot to say, though, Mark, that you should have asked permission first before putting your mosiac up in a public area. Since you were fined quite a bit for that, hopefully you have learned a lesson.

Posted Monday, February 06, 2012 11:06 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
The Devil can and does appear as an Angel of Light and even as Our Blessed Mother, and it takes solid theology to discern private revelations validity! Marks intentions were probably admirable, but I believe he is being used. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 12:04 AM By Abeca Christian
David Lopez and others, how would you have him paint her then? I’m sure our Lady of Guadalupe inspired him since he does not know what our Lady looks like except through the eye’s of current Catholic paintings. I once saw a painting of a mother doing the laundry, hanging clothes on the cloth line and the child Jesus was near her. Would anyone object to this painting? A friend gave me this modern painting and later on I found out it was the painters view of Virgin Mary and child Jesus while hanging laundry. Perhaps this surfer connected our Lady through something he held close to his heart. But I ask what then can we suggest to him that he could do different so that he not offend anyone. Suggestions would be good. Would you have preferred he made up a woman that he thought what our Lady would look like? Then that would be worst if you ask me, because not everyone will get the fine line that he is intending to portray our Lady. He is not Catholic remember. I don’t know, but I am only wondering what we could suggest to make this better. Would anyone prefer he would leave out our Lady. Would you prefer a Muriel that said words instead “Virgin Mary save our oceans, we pray” or Jesus loves our Oceans, or something generic? The art actually speaks louder than words. I am still astonished at the fact that he chose to do an art of our Lady overall. Brian S is right, it is not an apparition but art from the eye’s of a protestant Christian surfer. There was no evil intent here, he just didn’t know better. I hope and pray for his journey home, will be through our Mum. Most non-Catholic Christian avoid our mum first before coming into the faith.

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 12:12 AM By Abeca Christian
For the record I do want Mark to not get discouraged but to put himself in the shoes of those who are offended by this. To us Catholics Virgin Mary is the mum of Christ, therefore our Mum. She is our mum, we love her dearly and I hope you understand that to most Catholics, we respect and honor her. Imagine if someone did a painting of your mum, and they depicted her in a way that didn’t relate to you, like an Ice Skater, and she was pregnant. You would be “wait a minute, my mum doesn’t ice skate and how can she, she is pregnant.” Well something like that but of course, it’s the difference is that our Lady is mum to us all and sometimes we forget that outsiders have come to lover her as well and are still approaching her like little children, even silly ways, perhaps not always getting it right, but we as her children can pray and suggest in charity.

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 10:50 AM By Anne T.
I truly think that Mark got his idea from his own vivid imagination as most of us do at times. He probably saw people putting trash in the Lord’s beautiful ocean and knew that it needed to stop. He most likely knew in his subconsciece mind that surfers and other seafaring people needed protection from God. He probably saw a picutre of Our lady of Guadalupe and knew she was someone others respected, forgot about it, and later his imagination just put the two, the ocean and Our lady, together. Not everything is directly from God or the devil: Most or many are from our own imaginations as any Vatican authority can tell you, especially an exorcist. My objection to all this is that some of us went overboard, either in our praise of this mosaic or our denunciation of it, including myself somewhat. To give God or the devil credit for things too often discredits our own views in the eyes of others. I believe Mark’s intentions were good in his own mind, but the way in which he put up the mosaic in a public place without permission was not wise but foolish, and his depiction of Our Lady, of course, did not present her in the traditional, authentic way because, as Abeca Christian wrote, he did not know any better. Some of you do not want the mosaic in a public place, and you have a right to express that opinion, but all of our rhetoric about it needs to be toned down. We should not accuse him of bad intentions, at least about his creating the mosaic, as there probably was none, but, as I wrote before, the way in which he put up the picture was not wise but foolish, and he did have to pay a stiff fine for that from what I have read. Peace! Please save the ocean AND save the babies, and we do need to get the estrogen from the sewage out of our waterways, so it does not deform the fish and harm us. That part of such a message I am sure Our Lady and Our Lord approves.

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 12:10 PM By Maryanne Leonard
Thank you so much, Anne T., and thank you for your thoughtful posts also, Abeca. The sweetness of thought touches my soul, and heavenly sweetness is so reminiscent of Our Holy Mother’s love for us all. As Catholics, we are so blessed to be taught to be aware of God’s love for us as well as the love of the Blessed Virgin Mary for all of her children, including those such as Mark and all of us, who blunder on earth and perhaps offend. Forgiveness and redemption are the central messages of our great Christian faith, and even the breakaway denominations have managed to retain that message generally speaking. Perhaps someday all of us as Catholics will be welcoming back all of our Christian brothers and sisters to what they think of as the “Mother Church” and will discover for themselves the majesty, grace, and loving heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. When that day arrives, no further discussions of this kind will ever again be necessary.

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 2:38 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Abeca, 12:04 AM, You asked and I shall answer! I believe it would have been better if he had shown Our Lady of Guadalupe crying over a scene of a polluted ocean! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 7:31 PM By Anne T.
Yes, Kenneth Fisher, with what is going on in our country now, even Our Lady of La Salette would be a more appropriate image in many ways.

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 9:52 PM By JLS
That surfboard looks kinda like a sliver of the Moon.

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 9:55 PM By JLS
Lotsa speculation on this topic. Do you think the image will drive people to sin or to salvation?

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 10:03 PM By JLS
Now we have an idea how Gallileo Gallilee might have felt. Why is it, and there have been countless great literary works on this theme, why is it that so many people get violently hateful when some image or idea is changed? How many of us own the Blessed Virgin Mary, and guard her against encroachment by infidels? Now, trying to answer my own question, I refer to Apocalypse 12 where it is the earth that saves the Mother and Child from the great dragon. So far, am I the only one to comment on the bright crimson color of the robes in Mark’s image? What does this color mean? Also, when mothers have children, is it the mother who rides the surfboard or the child? Where is the child in this work of art? How would we decode the symbology other than how the artist defines it?

Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012 10:46 PM By Abeca Christian
Anne T your Post from Tuesday, February 07, 2012 10:50 AM was merciful and charitable. God bless you. Mr. Fisher hey your suggestion is actually awesome! I like that! That sounds better.

Posted Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:01 AM By Abeca Christian
JLS great insight.

Posted Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:18 AM By Anne T.
Thank you, Abeca Christian.