Called to surf: Remembering the ‘Surfing Padre’ who transformed California culture

The Deacon's Bench | 6/17/2018 | Staff
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Somehow this slipped off my radar screen, but the man who was a legend among surfers in Southern California died in late April:

Beloved Rev. Christian Mondor, known for starting the annual Blessing of the Waves in Huntington Beach, died Wednesday just two days before his 93rd birthday, Sts. Simon & Jude Catholic Church told its families Thursday.

Life - People - End - Rev - Ryan

“He loved life to the fullest and the people to whom he ministered, fighting to stay with them until the very end,” Rev. Ryan Thornton of Sts. Simon & Jude said in an e-mail.

Mondor’s Blessing of the Waves attracted thousands the past 10 years. Mondor, known as the “Surfing Padre,” entered the water during the event. The blessings evolved into a multi-faith celebration that recognized the significance of water in life.

Vision - Mind - Body - Holy - Oils

“He died with vision of mind and body unabated and with the holy oils of Mother Church still wet upon his forehead,” Thornton said. “His final words were, ‘Keep working.’ He was, from first to last, a Franciscan priest and a man of God. May he rest in peace.”

Another report put his life in context, saying he “forever changed surfing culture”:

Reverend - Mondor - City - 1960s - Father

Reverend Mondor arrived in the city in the 1960s. He started surfing almost immediately after arriving. When Father Mondor spoke about surfing, it mostly focused on the spiritual side of the...
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