Madera church to get new mosaic crafted in Italy after previous one crashed down last year during storm

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A gray wall sits bare after Mother Nature knocked down the artwork that greeted visitors at St. Joachim Church in Madera. Parishioners are replacing the mosaic they say is a part of who they are.

"We instructed them to make the new mosaic almost exactly the same as the old because everybody loved that artistic representation," said Father John Warburton.

They say the new mosaic is currently being built in Italy. It is almost a mirror copy of the previous mosaic that came crumbling down during a fierce windstorm in April of last year.

"It's sad, that was here for the original part of the church," said Jose Vizcaino.

Since then, the wall sat empty. Father Warburton says an insurance company finally approved their bid back in July to start the construction of the $330,000 mosaic. Warburton recently returned from Italy to see the progress.

Despite the similarities to the previous artwork, he says the piece is being built with better quality material and will be much sturdier so it doesn't suffer the same fate.

"I was supposed to decide if it's as good or better than it was before, and I can say it's better. Better quality."

Church visitors are excited to see the bleak facade come back to life.

"I'm glad to see that it's going to be the same picture and I hope it is more durable," said Jose Vizcaino.

The goal now is to have the colorful artwork up in time for the Christmas holiday.
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