By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
In the latest of a series of crimes against Catholic churches in California, vandals spray-painted the words “Kill the Cathlics” on the walls of St. Thomas More parish in Irvine.
“The graphic graffiti saddened parishioners, and church officials are working with police to find whoever is responsible for the crime, diocese spokesman Ryan Lilyengren said,” reported the Orange County Register.
The message was found by parishioners who came for Mass last Tuesday morning. Police took an incident report and will review surveillance video to determine when the incident occurred and who did it.
In connection with another series of crimes committed against Catholic churches, authorites arrested Peter Galindro, a 52 year old ex-convict, on January 13 in connection with a series of “poor box” thefts at Catholic Churches located in Glendale and Burbank.
The ‘poor box thefts’ and the vandalism in Anaheim and Irvine represent the latest in an ongoing series of crimes against Catholic churches in California, the Daily reports.
Among the most serious occurred in late October 2008 when a ciborium containing consecrated hosts was stolen from St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Watsonville, along with a safe that had been bolted to the floor containing $44,400 in cash and checks.
In early 2009, vandals spray-painted swastikas and the message “Niederauer, Ratzinger – where is the love” on the front walls of Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in San Francisco.
A few months later, just before Easter services were about to begin at St. Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica, vandals decapitated an outdoor statue of the Blessed Mother.
In late May 2010, vandals broke into and ransacked St. Rose of Lima parish school in Maywood, a small city in Los Angeles County. They scrawled “666” on walls, drove a knife into the face of a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe, defecated in the auditorium and displayed a cross in a sacrilegious manner. Police characterized the scene as being consistent with a hate crime.
Months later, in late August of 2010, a thief or thieves broke into St. Stanislaus Church in Modesto, desecrated the sanctuary and knocked over four statues of the Blessed Mother. Police said the vandals left a trail of blood around the altar but were unsure if the blood was related to an act of desecration or was the result of injuries sustained while breaking the window through which the person(s) gained entrance.
In November, 2010, vandals struck Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Woodland where they stole $2,000 from the parish office, desecrated a Nativity scene, and covered a statue of Blessed Virgin Mary in black spray paint just before smashing it into so many pieces it was considered beyond repair.
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