A string of vandalism has hounded the Catholic community of the Pomona Valley area in California this Lent. The target of the attacks appears to be the Blessed Mother, as the vandal seeks out and destroys depictions of the Theotokos.
At St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church in Chino, a statue of the Virgin Mary that has stood outside the building for over 50 years was violently beheaded. Now, authorities are investigating whether this vandalism is connected to similar incidents that occurred only a few miles away.
CBS Los Angeles reported the vandal struck on Saturday, entering church property and either bashing or cutting off the head of Mary in only a few moments. The damage inflicted on the statue is said to be similar to the destruction wrought upon two other Mary statues at Our Lady Lourdes Catholic Church in Montclair. The Montclair attack, which occurred in late February, caught a figure destroying the statues on a closed circuit camera, but the assailant was unidentifiable.
Marianne Hacker, an administrator from St. Margaret Mary’s, told CBS she thinks the vandal is “definitely trying to make a statement.”
Hacker also noted that this perpetrator is possibly the same one who previously shattered their double-pane, stained glass depiction of Mary. She said the glass was broken by a very large stone that was thrown through the window.
The Blaze notes that St. Monica’s Catholic Church, across town, has experienced similar attacks over the last 16 years, which saw the hands of a 65-year-old statue of the Blessed Mother removed, in 2002. The same statue was hit again after it was repaired, in 2009, when it was beheaded in similar fashion to the Chino vandalism.
Both St. Margaret Mary’s and Our Lady of Lourdes said they do not know why they were targeted, but they are praying for the person who seems determined to destroy their treasured statues.
“We’re always willing to forgive, and we’re always willing to help if there’s anger,” Hacker said.
St. Margaret Mary’s said they will be investing in a new security camera to watch over the statue, once it is repaired.