Catholic Group: Investigate Vandalism as Hate Crime

"[This was] a brazen and malicious crime, timed to inflict maximum emotional distress on the parishioners of Saint Catherine's," a statement from the group read.

Parishioners said they were shocked when they arrived at Easter services to discover a statue of the Virgin Mary was targeted by vandals this weekend.

Norwood Police said the statue in front of St. Catherine's Catholic Church was spray painted black sometime Friday night or early Saturday.

With flowers and prayers, many parishioners paused to reflect in front of the desecrated statue of the Virgin Mary.

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"I certainly think that, especially with the sacred holiday, that it's very sad that these kind of things happen," said Jeane Doyle, a member of the congregation.

Norwood Police say someone did this to the statue likely the night of Good Friday.

The black paint was sprayed on so thick that it absorbed into the porous stone.

"I am very disappointed about some people really would consider doing such a thing to the church," said parishioner Charlotte Cahoon. "I'm very sad."

The Catholic Action League says that it's not just sad, it's a hate crime. The group is calling on the Norwood Police and Norfolk District Attorney's Office to investigate is as such.

"It's a very, very sad thing. It's a very malicious thing. It's a very malevolent thing," said C.J. Doyle, the league's executive director. "Obviously, somebody was extremely mean-spirited and extremely calculating to do this on the evening of Good Friday."

The parish is also asking for donations to help with restoration.

In the meantime, the statue continues to be surrounded with flowers and prayers.

"It's funny, I brought my mom a bouquet of flowers, and so it's going to be a bit smaller now because I took some flowers out just to put with her," said Cahoon.

Norwood Police are asking anyone with information about who might have done this to give them a call.

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