After its statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was beheaded, a California parish asked Catholics to pray for the vandal who desecrated the statue, along with another monument at the parish.
“It is heartbreaking to see desecration to an image of Our Blessed Lady, and distressing to try to comprehend why someone would do this. While we have no way of knowing the motive for this shameful action, we do know this: it makes no statement, advances no cause, and uplifts no one. It merely creates more sorrow in a time already full of it,” Fr. Enrique Alvarez, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Citrus Heights, California, said in a statement this week.
The statue was beheaded late Monday evening. A statue of the Ten Commandments, placed at the parish “in dedication to all those who have lost their life through abortion,” was graffitied with a swastika.
“I ask our Holy Family community to join me in prayer for the person or persons who would do this and who would seek to add to the sorrows in our world and bring pain to those who have done them no harm. Actions of this sort are likely born of inner pain for which we must have compassion,” Alvarez said.
Within one day of the vandalism, the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was repaired and and the other statue was cleaned.
The vandalism came amid an ongoing spate of destructive acts at Catholic parishes across the country. In recent weeks, statues of Mary, and of other saints, have been destroyed on parish properties in numerous states, and churches in California, Massachusetts, and Florida have been the location of suspected arson. Beginning in June, public statues of saints, especially statues of St. Junípero Serra in California, have been torn down or destroyed by protestors and rioters.
At Holy Family Parish, Alvarez said this week that “while these statues have been cleaned and repaired, they are merely reminders of our Faith, which is stronger and longer-lasting than stone.”
“Each of us must remember that our Faith is not in statues or images. Our Faith is in the Eternal God, in Jesus Christ, His Risen Son, and in the redemption of the Resurrection,” he added.