Community Rallies After Vandal Damages Statues at Bensonhurst Church

Tags: Currents Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY, Catholics, Faith, Family, Media, Queens, NY, St. Dominic Church, Vandalism

by Katie Vasquez

These parishioners at St. Dominic’s Church are hoping to raise their spirits.

“I was shocked. I was, you know, upset and dismayed,” said St. Dominic’s Church parishioner, Mary Ellen Piorkowski Lane.  

Those feelings after destruction at St. Dominic’s in Bensonhurst after a 30-year-old man smashed two statues outside and damaged the windows. 

“It’s not right to come to a church and do what he did,” said St. Dominic’s Church parishioner, Maria Del Priore. 

According to officials, on June 10, the hammer-welding vandal went on a rampage, smashing things at the church and all over the neighborhood

Video from a neighbor shows him in action, destroying a statue of Pope Saint John XXIII in the middle of the afternoon! 

He also destroyed an image of Saint Teresa of Calcutta, that neighbor then called the cops 

“We had a wonderful neighbor across the street who could have looked the other way, but found it in her heart to capture the event on video, immediately notify the police and the police came with a very rapid response,” said St. Dominic’s Church pastoral associate, Deacon Anthony Mammoliti. 

The man was arrested and police have identified him as Randy Maldonado Avila. 

He was charged with criminal mischief and criminal possession of a weapon.

The pastor of St Dominic’s, Father Michael Lynch only caught the aftermath of the chaos. 

As volunteers helped board up the windows and cover the statues, Father Lynch says the emotional wounds still remain. 

“No one was hurt physically. hearts and minds are scarred a little bit and probably wounded,” said Father Lynch, pastor of St. Dominic’s Church. 

Still the parishioners of St Dominic’s say they will continue to pray for this person.

“We have to face it. pray for the person, and we pray, god, that he helps us to fix all this mess,” said St. Dominic’s Church parishioner, Grace. 

“We’re a strong community, so we’re going to get through this,” said Piorkowski Lane

“We forgive and forget in this instance. right. we do forget that someone did something wrong or bad to us, but we never forget to pray for them,” said Father Lynch. 

A donor has stepped up to pay for the repairs of both statues.