Caught on Tape: Man Smashes Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Face in Attack at Calif. Church Shrine
This is heartbreaking!
St. Elisabeth Catholic Church in Van Nuys, Calif. released security footage of a man vandalizing the church’s 35-year-old hand-painted shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The masked man climbed on the altar and smashed Our Lady’s face with a sledgehammer.
The incident occurred on Wed., April 21. It is one of at least three recent Catholic Church vandalizations in California.
St. Elisabeth Church pastor Father Vito Di Marzio told KTLA 5 that he “was inside when he thought he heard a few loud knocks.”
“I went to my window to see what was happening, but it was all gone,” the priest said. ““I was speechless, and it was unbelievable.”
“For me, it’s like doing it to your own mother,” Sister Angelie Marie Inoferio also told KTLA 5.
She added that rather than being angry, she believes it is “a teaching moment for the [parish’s] school.”
“We have to do some kind of reparation and give the children, and the whole school, an example of forgiveness,” she said. “We cannot judge what is inside of him. Maybe it is a cry for help.”
“Hopefully someday that person will be converted and realize that what he did was wrong.”
Here’s the video below:
The parish also published a statement on its website:
“The image of Our Lady on Cedros Ave. has been severely vandalized. This is one of our saddest moments, in addition to our pandemic times,” the statement says. “It was hit 13 times with a long sledgehammer at 1:40 early Wednesday [morning] and was clearly recorded on our security video camera.”
The parish held a service in reparation for the attack against Our Lady.
Fr. Di Marzio led a rosary with parishioners and the school “for peace, unity, and order in our parish community area, as well as for the person who perpetrated this sacrilegious act on our Blessed Mother.”