My own parish church is 13 miles from home in the opposite direction from the office, so I went to a church that is much closer to work for their 7 a.m. Ash Wednesday Mass.  We got a late start because a statue in the church garden of Jesus and 2 little children was vandalized overnight.  When I arrived at 6:45, the priest was talking to the police.  Fox 13 covered the story, as did several other local outlets. Personally, it’s not my taste in art, but that doesn’t mean I would ever consider hopping a fence in the middle of the night and whacking it with a blunt object.

Ash Wednesday is a sad day to begin with, and this made it even worse.  The priest referred to the vandalism several times during the service and tried to come up with reasons why anyone in his right mind would do something like that.  I know it’s Lent and we’re supposed to think even more carefully about “forgiv[ing] those who trespass against us,” and my heart goes out to the clergy and the parishioners because forgiving the person or people who destroyed their statue is not going to be easy.

I hope they have the strength to do the right thing.

Updated 3.10.11: This story made the front page of the Bradenton Herald.  There’s another picture of the damage at the link.