Flashback Friday – Glorious Tackiness

This Sunday morning, I had the pleasure of attending Mass at St Pius V in Pasadena, TX.

The first thing I noticed as I walked toward the church’s doors was a statue of the Blessed Mother in a niche in the wall with a simple grocery store candle next to her, and bouquets of fresh flowers and still more lit candles at her feet.

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She was amazing! I have an admitted love of what the world calls tackiness, and here it was in full force and splendor.


Here was Our Lady of Guadalupe made out of concrete wearing a blue veil made out of love. It was a shiny piece of blue satin trimmed with silver lace. It looked a little like the tinsel I’ve put on my Christmas tree in years past, but I can’t swear that it is. The veil was decorated with dozens of silver star stickers. On her head was a rhinestone tiara crowning her Queen of Heaven. The niche was illuminated by strands of twinkle lights that randomly blinked and flashed amidst the garlands and bouquets of silk flowers surrounding her.

She was glorious!

I didn’t spend a lot of time standing in front of her – it was cold and raining- but all I could think of was how honest she was in her gaudy majesty. It is rare in this world to see things which are pure honesty. That stunning display, was nothing but. In that simple niche in the wall outside of an old Catholic Church, the Blessed Mother was genuinely loved and honored by her children. This is what adored looks like.

I know that there are a lot of people who would turn up their noses at having such a display perpetually in front of their churches, but I can’t do anything other than wish we did. I wish that there were more churches with such a devotion to Christ’s Mother that no committee was necessary to keep fresh flowers for her – because the people would never let there be a time when she would go without. I would love to see more people acting out of genuine affection for God and His Saints than out of a concern for what the world would think of such carryings on. Because the world doesn’t like such things – the world likes faith to be quiet, personal, and subdued – this little niche is anything but. It’s a hodge-podge collection of bring-your-own flowers and put together finery that invites passers-by to not just admire but add to the collection. This is not a finished masterpiece, it’s a constantly evolving come-as-you-are work-of-love in progress.

I wish we would all indulge in a little more tacky. The truth about what the world calls tacky is that it can sometimes also be called truth. When what you’re looking at is not cheap commercialism, but the genuine outpouring of love and affection, then we should hope that the world could be filled with displays such as these. The world can certainly use more such joyous examples of sincere devotion. It would be good for us.

And as an added bonus…more twinkle lights….and that’s never a bad thing.

About Rebecca Frech

Rebecca Frech is a Catholic author, speaker, CrossFit coach, and the Managing Editor of The Catholic Conspiracy website. She is the author of the best-selling books Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the Rest of Us and Can We Be Friends? She is a co-host of the popular podcast The Visitation Project, and is a columnist for The National Catholic Register. She and her husband live just outside Dallas with their eight children, a German Shepherd named Dave, and an ever-multiplying family of dust-bunnies.
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