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Church Statue Honoring COVID-19 Victims in Flushing is Vandalized

A statue of St. Bernadette at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in the Flushing was vandalized early Tuesday (Photo provided by The Diocese of Brooklyn).

Aug. 18, 2021 By Michael Dorgan

A statue that was erected this summer at a Flushing Catholic church to honor residents who died from COVID-19 was vandalized Tuesday.

The statue, located at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church at 136-76 41st Ave., was smashed by a man who pushed it to the ground, according to a spokesperson for the Diocese of Brooklyn — which also covers Queens.

The suspect toppled the statue at around 3:30 a.m. after jumping over a fence to get on church property. The sculpture, which is of St. Bernadette, was damaged with parts of the forearm in pieces, the spokesperson said.

St. Bernadette is the patron saint of the poor and the sick, according to the Diocese.

A photograph released by the Diocese shows a large section of the statue’s left forearm missing. In another photo, broken-off debris from the sculpture can be seen shattered on the ground.

The statue is located on a lawn area that runs adjacent to Union Street.

The statues of St. Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes (L) at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in Flushing. Debris on the ground (R) following the act of vandalism (Photos provided by The Diocese of Brooklyn).

The Diocese sent CCTV footage of the incident to the NYPD, which is conducting an investigation, a police spokesperson said.

Father Vincentius Do, Pastor of St. Michael’s Catholic Church, said it was “upsetting,” but he was not bitter about the incident.

“The faithful of St. Michael’s and I are praying for the person who committed this act against our church,” Do said.

“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.”

The statue of St. Bernadette was installed on the grounds of the church earlier this summer – along with a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes – by the Diocese to remember all parishioners who lost their lives to the coronavirus.

The pastor is now planning to have the statue repaired. The incident follows a similar act of vandalism last month when two statues at a Catholic church in Forest Hills were damaged beyond repair.

Anyone with information in relation to the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).

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Jorge Melendez

So ripping down a rainbow flag is a “hate crime” but destroying religious statues is not? These are some crazy times.

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