In a recent wave of attacks and vandalism on Catholic church buildings, properties and sacred images in different parts of the United States of America, a statue of Jesus the Good Shepherd was toppled and beheaded on Tuesday night, 14th July, or early Wednesday morning, 15th July, in Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Southwest Miami-Dade County.
According to a Catholic News Agency report, “On Wednesday morning, the statue was discovered knocked over and missing his head. Fr. Edvaldo DaSilva, the parochial vicar at Good Shepherd Church, told local media that he did not believe the damage could be accidental, as the pedestal’s screws had been tampered with.”
The act of vandalism was immediately reported to the police, and Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami has asked that the investigation be treated as a hate crime.
In a similar attack over the weekend, a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was attacked, knocked over and beheaded at a parish in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which, according to the Catholic News Agency, is the third reported incident against a statue of Mary occurring in the same weekend. The outdoor statue was located at St. Stephen Parish, Chattanooga, and the incident occurred on Saturday, 11th July.
While the reasons for these and other similar attacks in Boston, Brooklyn, Florida and California which include vandalism and arson are not known, it is obvious that the Catholic Church in the United States has become the target of some persons or groups, which, if not nipped in the bud, can degenerate into attacks on both parishioners and church personnel. We are indeed in perilous times and must seek the face of the Lord Jesus to protect his Church. Our comfort should be in the words of Jesus that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church. Pray for the Church in the US.