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NJ Bishop Punched on Altar During Mass

bishop manuel cruzBishop Manuel Cruz, an Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey was punched in the face on Saturday during a Mass for former baseball player, Roberto Clemente.

NJ101.5 is reporting on the incident that occurred at Newark’s Cathedral Basililca of the Sacred Heart on Saturday night. Bishop Cruz was just beginning Mass when a man in a white coat and hat walked up to the altar and punched him in the mouth. The bishop was knocked to the ground just as security guards rushed the altar and subdued the man who was later led off in handcuffs.

The assailant was identified as 48 year-old Charles Miller of Newark. As of Sunday night, no motive was known for the attack.

Bishop Cruz was taken to the hospital where he received stitches for a torn lip, but was otherwise unharmed.

Jim Goodness, a spokesman for the Archdiocese, said the bishop is now home and resting after the incident. He said when the bishop addressed members of the congregation on Sunday, he expressed his hope that “people will understand this was an isolated incident.”

The Mass for baseball legend Roberto Clemente was organized by the local Latino community. Clemente was killed in a plane crash while in route to delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

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