SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A local church is dealing with a disturbing act of vandalism during the holy season of lent. Someone knocked the head off a religious statue and shattered the figure. Eyewitness News visited the church on Scranton’s West Side as the community comes to terms with the crime.
As the faithful gathered Friday afternoon inside Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church for a lenten service, something was missing outside the house of worship. “We’re all horrified because we have many devotional rights to our Lady,” said the church’s Assistant Secretary Marie Kasulis. A pedestal, now empty, where a nearly four foot statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary stood prominently until someone vandalized it. “Smashed to smithereens so violently that some of the pieces were up here at the top steps leading to the door,” said Ms. Kasulis.
The damage, discovered Friday morning, happened at some point the night before. Ms. Kasulis said, “We had pouring rain and storms and still someone was out here doing the vandalism.” It’s the second time it’s happened at Saints Peter and Paul. In fact, the latest Blessed Virgin Mary statue replaced one that was smashed just a couple of years ago.
“We can replace it and we will just pray for that person,” said Rev. Alvaro de Oliveria who called for compassion and casting aside feelings of anger that some may have toward the person responsible. “We should just forgive him and let him go free. We should do nothing to them.”
The Diocese of Scranton Chaplain explained there are far greater atrocities in the world. Still, the thought someone intentionally broke the statue is breaking hearts. “I just don’t understand what goes through people’s minds anymore,” said Ms. Kasulis.
Police are checking for any neighborhood surveillance cameras near the church on West Locust Street. Anyone with information is urged to call Scranton Police or 911.