SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio - Vandals struck a South Euclid church over the weekend, damaging three statues when they were knocked from the pedestals.
The statues, one of the Blessed Virgin Mary and two of Saint Anthony, were in different areas on the grounds of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church on South Green Road.
“This is not just a piece of art, it has great spiritual meaning,” said Father Dave Ireland.
The marble statue of the Virgin Mary is estimated to weigh more than a half ton and left an indentation in the ground nearby. Pieces of marble can be seen imbedded in the base on which it stood.
The larger of the two Saint Anthony statues was ripped free of its mounting bolts.
“Mary’s statue had fallen down, face first down into the ground,” he said, describing the scene he surveyed Sunday morning.
Father Ireland said the statues were last seen undamaged Saturday evening. Others on the church property were not harmed.
He was surprised the three statues weren’t damaged more severely considering the force it must have taken to knock them off their bases.
They have been moved into storage until an estimate of how much it will cost to repair and return the statues to their pedestals can be determined.
Upon contacting Bishop Richard Lennon to inform him of the vandalism, Father Ireland said the bishop was very supportive.
“He was so kind, very concerned for our parish and the feelings of the people,” Father Ireland said.
Church members were informed of the damage at last Sunday’s services. According to Father Ireland, the statues can be repaired, but the pain the vandals inflicted will linger.
“I don’t think they would do it if they appreciated the great hurt they caused.”
The community, as well as South Euclid police, are looking for help finding answers as to who would desecrate the church’s property. Call South Euclid police at 216 381-1235 with any information.
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