Knights of Columbus donates to vandalized Brooklyn parish

CNA Staff, Sep 21, 2020 / 04:09 pm (CNA).- The Knights of Columbus has contributed thousands of dollars to a Brooklyn parish following an act of vandalism earlier this month.

The Knights of Columbus announced Sept. 21 a $10,000 donation to Our Lady of Solace Church. An unknown perpetrator destroyed a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the parish Sept. 11.

“The desecration of our Catholic statues and churches is a grievous crime against all people who value religious freedom,” said Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight.

“Together with Pope Francis, our bishops and faithful everywhere, we stand against violence, hatred and bigotry.”

Father Javier Flores, the parish administrator, said the gift was “overwhelming” and expressed hope that a replacement statue would be erected before Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast, Dec. 12.

The parish has been struggling financially since the pandemic has reduced tithing, WLNY reported.

According to the church’s security camera, a man climbed the fence in front of the church, toppled a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and then tossed the statue onto the sidewalk.

“Who knows mentally what’s going on with that person in that moment, but you don’t do stuff like that. This is vandalism,” said Coney Island resident Sara Marerro, according to WLNY.

Marerro said an onlooker tried to place the statue back in its proper place, and the two men got into an argument.

“The other guy came trying to put the statue back. And that’s when they started fighting because the other guy, they were drunk,” Marerro said.

John Quaglione, deputy press secretary for the Diocese of Brooklyn, said the statue often attracts visitors, especially each Sept. 11

“To attack the Blessed Mother on 9/11 in broad daylight is not only brazen, it’s a direct assault of the people that were walking by that day wanted to have a moment of prayer to themselves, wanted to remember someone they may have lost,” Quaglione told WLNY.

The New York City Police Department has offered a $2,500 reward for any relevant information on the man who destroyed the statue.

Vandalism cases at Catholic churches have recently been on the rise throughout the United States.

Isaiah Cantrell, 30, was arrested after he walked into St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso Sept. 15 and proceeded to smash a nearly 90-year-old statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that was displayed behind the altar.

Chandler Johnson, 23, was arrested for vandalizing the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Tioga, La., Sept. 11. For over two hours, Johnson vandalized the church, breaking at least six windows, beating several metal doors, and destroying numerous statues around the parish grounds.

On July 10, a statue of the Virgin Mary at Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in Queens was defaced by graffiti. Security footage shows an individual approaching the 100-year-old statue shortly after 3 a.m. Friday morning and daubing the word “IDOL” down its length.

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