Crescat and The Neon Halos…

… Most Catholics I know have extremely good taste for aesthetics. Their preferences are typically high brow, bordering on snobbery. That’s because we know beauty. But secretly, we do love our kitsch. We heart it with the fierce affection a parent has for their children’s scribbles. Or maybe that’s just the boricua in me talking. Because I love me some bathtub Madonnas, statues with human hair wigs, and neon halos.

Especially neon halos.

Blessed Virgin Mary at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, Wichita, Kansas


One of these days I am gonna get a big bathtub Maddona, put in Her the front yard, and illuminate Her with one of those spinning color wheel lights.

On a side note; Fr. Erik noted Neon Halos would make an excellent band name should I ever decided to revive the old punk band.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    How about those little statues of Jesus and Mary we used to have when I was a child, that glowed in the dark? do they make them still, or has Bob Dylan killed them? (“…as human gods aim for their mark/ Make everything from toy guns that spark/ To flesh-coloured Christs that glow in the dark./ It’s easy to see without looking too far/ That not much is really sacred!”)

    • Katrina Fernandez

      Yes, I own one.

    • Christine Hebert

      I own one.

    • Roseanna Hatke

      Yes, Fabio, and they are wonderfully comforting to children in the night…..and to adults, too. Bob Dylan should have one….he might realize that everything in our lives is sacred if it signifies our love of God.

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        Bob Dylan became converted to Catholicism in about 1977, and so far as I am aware he is one of us still. He doesn’t make a fuss about it, but he produces the occasional magnificent song with a religious theme:

        Ring them bells, ye heathen
        From the city that dreams
        Ring them bells from the sanctuaries
        ’Cross the valleys and streams
        For they’re deep and they’re wide
        And the world’s on its side
        And time is running backwards
        And so is the bride

        Ring them bells St. Peter
        Where the four winds blow
        Ring them bells with an iron hand
        So the people will know
        Oh it’s rush hour now
        On the wheel and the plow
        And the sun is going down
        Upon the sacred cow

        Ring them bells Sweet Martha
        For the poor man’s son
        Ring them bells so the world will know
        That God is one
        Oh the shepherd is asleep
        Where the willows weep
        And the mountains are filled
        With lost sheep

        Ring them bells for the blind and the deaf
        Ring them bells for all of us who are left
        Ring them bells for the chosen few
        Who will judge the many when the game is through
        Ring them bells, for the time that flies
        For the child that cries
        When innocence dies

        Ring them bells St. Catherine
        From the top of the room
        Ring them from the fortress
        For the lilies that bloom
        Oh the lines are long
        And the fighting is strong
        And they’re breaking down the distance
        Between right and wrong

    • Almario Javier

      Yes. At least in the Philippines as of a few months ago. Then again, on many things we are fortunately behind the culture.

  • RJH

    You would love visiting Lourdes Kat! Tons of religious kitsch being sold everywhere. From Blessed Virgin Mary microwave popcorn to glow in the dark holy water fonts, statues, rosaries…you name it. If you’re already going to Spain, swing by Lourdes while you’re at it. You will LOVE it. I was rather repulsed myself, but intrigued that people actually buy that shit. lol

    • Roseanna Hatke

      I like to fall asleep saying my rosary. And at my age, glow in the dark is a great help:)

  • tj.nelson

    I have a little nicho with an infant Jesus in it surrounded by gold wire angel hair, with tiny multicolored rice-lites woven through out. I’m very much consoled by such things.

  • Augustine

    Indeed, on one corner there are holy icons, fine paintings and traditional statues, on another, plastic statues with generic faces, glitzy artifacts, etc. Perhaps it reflects our incarnational faith, which appreciates both the transcendent and the fleshy, the holy and the fallen.

  • Mary E.

    Wow, just wow . . . first time I’ve seen neon halos on statues. My horizon has been expanded. I think I want one . . .

  • Barbara Fryman

    When I was little I had a Our Lady light switch plate that glowed. I need to find some for my kids.

  • Suburbanbanshee

    That’s really not kitsch. It’s cutting-edge high-tech art that’s survived beyond the point when neon stopped being cutting-edge. Same thing with lightbulb-outlined saint niches and high altars.

  • Bill Burns

    I’ve always been partial to Catholic Cage Match as a band name. Just couldn’t find anyone else who would invests in a wrestling mask and join me.

  • A.R. Danziger

    I love bathtub Madonnas too. They were all over the Polish neighborhood in Buffalo when I was growing up.

  • Roseanna Hatke

    In a wonderfully devout procession in honor of Our Lady, which we attended in a little village in Italy, Our Lady was decked out in lots of jewelry and dangly earrings and carried through the village by the men. Proceeded by the children throwing flower petals. I guess one would not consider that “high class “, but I am absolutely sure Our Lady was smiling and loving it! Kind of like a Mama smiles when her children draw a picture of her as Miss America.

  • Dillon T. McCameron

    Our church burned down over fifty years ago, and the statue of Our Lady of the Assumption survived. Stark plaster charred, covered in soot. Unbelievably beautiful.

    So they scotch tape a “gold” foil crown to the top of her head.
    What bothers me isn’t (so much) the kitsch or the lack of artistic sense in not letting a beautiful thing alone, so much as it is the fact that none of the imagery or iconography of the Assumption show Our Lady crowned. During the coronation? Sure. “Our Lady, Queen of Angels?” Fine.

  • Roseanna Hatke

    Fabio: I wish it were true that Bob Dylan converted to Catholicism, but, unfortunately, it is not. He does use some marginally Catholic images in some of his songs, but although he seems to briefly consider several religious beliefs, he never picks one to go with long term. He was born Jewish, flirted a little with evangelical Christianity, enjoyed singing for the Pope, but Catholic, no. But, don’t just take my word for it…..Google Is “Bob Dylan Catholic” and you will find all sorts of info. Hey, I didn’t know Cat Stevens became a Muslim!!

  • Eugene Edward Yeo

    … I really like the triangle halos I’ve seen on some statues. But, being a bad Eastern Catholic, I’m not good enough with my iconography (statuography?) to figure out if there’s a reason we have round halos.