South Euclid, Ohio – Three statues on the grounds of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, including a 1,000-pound, life-size, marble Blessed Virgin Mary, were found early Sunday pushed off their pedestals.
“When we found her, she was lying face-first in the grass and dirt,” said Sacred Heart’s pastor, the Rev. Dave Ireland. “I don’t know how you could get the strength to push it over.”
The nose and parts of the veil got chipped in the fall, said Ireland.
Two other statues — both of St. Anthony — were also toppled, though were not damaged.
One of them, about 5-feet high, is fiberglass and was standing along side a church driveway fairly close to South Green Rd., which is a main street. It was bolted and cemented down, said Ireland.
The other is a 3-foot-high marble statue in the back of the church by the parish Family Life Center. It was knocked over into a bush.
“It’s so sad,” said Ireland. “I don’t understand vandalism, especially against a sacred piece. That’s desecration and that’s very troubling to me.”
Ireland suspects the statues were toppled under the cover of darkness late Saturday or early Sunday. He said the Rev. Thomas Winkel, parochial vicar at the parish, discovered the vandalism as he was entering the church Sunday morning to say Mass. He alerted Ireland, who called police.
Police said Tuesday that they had no witnesses or suspects. The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is asking anyone with information about the vandalism to call the South Euclid Police Department at 216-381-1234.