Two Eastern Queens churches were vandalized in a week. Police are still searching for the culprits.
Last Saturday, a Hollis pastor caught a man trying to light the Shrine Church of Saint Gerard Majella on fire in broad daylight.
The Rev. Josephjude Gannon watched the man throw what appeared to be a shirt into the vestibule before lighting a match and throwing it inside, too.
Surveillance footage captured the incident. The video shows Gannon confronting the suspect, who had sat on the church steps after tossing the items inside the 91st Avenue building. The two talked before the suspect walked up the church stairs, retrieved the shirt he had tossed and walked away.
“This is sad and very scary, but it could have been worse, thankfully no one was hurt and nothing was damaged. Clearly this person has issues, whatever they are I don’t know but I hope he gets help. I will pray for him,” Gannon said in a statement the following day.
Just four days earlier, another man jumped the fence at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, at 136-76 41 Ave. in Flushing, at 3:30 a.m. to knock a statue over.
The St. Bernadette statue was damaged on her left forearm and wrist. The church’s pastor, the Rev. Vincentius Do, is already planning to have the statue repaired, the Diocese of Brooklyn said.
The newly installed St. Bernadette structure, along with an Our Lady of Lourdes statue, was erected earlier this summer in remembrance of the parishioners who succumbed to Covid-19. St. Bernadette is the patron saint of the poor, those ridiculed for their faith and the sick.
“St. Michael’s plays a central role in the faith and care of our neighbors through our masses and faith-based services and that feed the hungry. For sure this act of vandalism is upsetting, but the faithful of St. Michael’s and I are praying for the person who committed this act against our church. It is important to find the good in all things, and so I wish to take this opportunity to encourage the public to respect our church and our property, as well as that of all houses of worship,” Do said in a statement.
The police have not made arrests in either of the incidents.
A spokesperson for the NYPD said the two incidents have not been established as a pattern at this time. Both investigations remain ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 577-TIPS (8477), or, for Spanish, 1 (888) 57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit tips by logging onto nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577, or by going to @nypdtips on Twitter. All tips are strictly confidential.