2 churches vandalized with unknown substance

BOSTON — Trash and eggs covered the Saint Teresa of Calcutta Church in Dorchester. But that was back in January.

Fast forward to around 6:30 a.m. Friday morning, when the vandals came back, this time with bicycle locks and some kind of unknown substance.

“She went to open the school up this morning and some of the locks were filled with some type of putty so she immediately contacted me and also the Boston police,” said Father John Ronaghan of Saint Teresa of Calcutta Church.

Boston Police released a picture of the man they believe is to blame. They believe an hour after he vandalized the church in Dorchester, he went to the Saint Monica-Saint Augustine Catholic Church in South Boston where they found the same substance on the doors. They also found the Blessed Mother statue knocked down for the second time in a week.

“It was down for maybe a day or so and they picked it back up and then this morning I came out to walk him and it was down again and the cops were here,” said Rob Daly, who lives nearby. “Obviously it’s a frustrated individual. Churches are mostly good and they help the community I don’t know why people … I think that’s sad and I hope they catch the guy.”

“So people just keep coming over here and knocking it over, for what reason?” asked Maddie Gifford who used to live nearby.

“I have no idea,” said Ronaghan. “It’s very interesting. I suspect either the person has an issue with the church or is angry about something and is taking it out on the parish that way. I don’t know.”

He said he has had to deal with vandals “probably about four or five times” since he took over last September, but it was also happening before then like last summer when vandals emptied trash over the head of the statue of the Blessed Mother.

“At some point, it does not only involve property loss but he could endanger the safety of parishioners,” said Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle. “It’s a very serious problem these are also hate crimes and constitutional rights violations. Last summer when the church was attacked Boston Police said we are taking this very seriously and we were going to pursue this but I am not aware of any arrest.”

“I feel very sorry for them. I don’t know what their issue is. I would hope that they would obviously get some help,” said Ronaghan. “That would be the most important, but having said that, it’s not fair to the people of the parish to have this continually happening to them.”

Catholic Action League’s Executive Director has been tracking these crimes since 2012 and says the number of incidents has been steadily increasing. He says we went from averaging about one per year to now about one per month.

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