At approximately 3:30 a.m. last Wednesday morning, a man vandalized a statue of St. Bernadette outside St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church at 136-76 41st Avenue in Flushing. The attack is the latest in a string of incidents at churches in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
The statue of St. Bernadette was dedicated earlier this summer as a memorial to parishioners who died from coronavirus. St. Bernadette is the patron saint of the poor, those ridiculed for their faith, and the sick.
Wednesday’s perpetrator jumped over the church fence and knocked the statue over, damaging portions near the left forearm and wrist.
While St. Michael’s is already planning to repair the statue, parish leaders are hoping to use the incident as an opportunity to strengthen the community.
“St. Michael’s plays a central role in the faith and care of our neighbors through our masses and faith-based services that feed the hungry,” said Father Vincentius Do, pastor of St. Michael’s Church. “For sure this act of vandalism is upsetting, but the faithful of St. Michael’s and I are praying for the person who committed this act against our church.
“It is important to find the good in all things, and so I wish to take this opportunity to encourage the public to respect our church and our property, as well as that of all houses of worship,” he added.
Authorities from the 109th Precinct are currently investigating the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).
The St. Bernadette is the latest in series of vandalism incidents at churches in Queens and Brooklyn.
In July, a person damaged two statues outside of Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic Church at 70-01 Kissel Street in Forest Hills. The two statues had been in place since the church’s opening in 1937.
The vandal dragged the statues close to 200 feet across 70th Avenue before destroying them completely with a hammer.
In May, two separate incidents occurred at churches in Brooklyn. On May 14, a crucifix was toppled and damaged and an American flag lit on fire at St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church in Bensonhurst.
On May 17, a statue of Mary holding the Baby Jesus was found vandalized near the Diocese’s administrative office in Windsor Terrace.