By Jessica Easthope
Praying in front of their parish, St. Michael’s Church in Flushing, Queens, is the highlight of Lucy Santiago and Lillian Soto’s day. They usually leave happy, but Wednesday, that wasn’t the case.
In the early morning hours, Tuesday, Aug. 17, a man hopped a short fence in front of the church and pushed over this statue of St. Bernadette, breaking her arm.
“They have no business trying to destroy these statues because they’re the ones who support us, these saints in heaven and that’s what we have to depend on now,” Lucy said.
The vandal was caught on camera. The police were called to investigate and tape was put up – a process Father Vincentius Do shuddered to think he’d ever be involved in.
“It’s sad that we have to think of more security. We never thought about these things when we built these churches, everything was out in the open but now we have to protect ourselves,” said Father Do, the new parish administrator.
St. Michael’s joins a long list of churches and schools across the Diocese of Brooklyn that have been vandalized this year. At this spot, St. Bernadette is kneeling in front of the Blessed Mother and surrounding them is a white flag for every parishioner lost to COVID-19.
St. Bernadette is the patron saint of those who are ridiculed for their faith, but the parish doesn’t think this is an attack, but a problem that goes much deeper within the Flushing community.
“I tend to think these people are suffering with some kind of mental issues and that’s why I ask my parishioners to pray for them that they get help because I think they do need help,” said Father Do.
Now St. Michael’s is left to, literally, pick up the pieces. Fr. Do hopes his parishioners will chip in to fix the statue, but he says the pain costs more than the repairs.