Crazed vandal wrecks Pope Francis photo, dresses up in priest robes at NYC church: report
A man caused chaos in a Queens church on Monday when he vandalized a framed photo of Pope Francis and spread paint thinner on the basement floor before donning a priest’s robe. The Diocese of Brooklyn has issued a statement forgiving the 21-year-old man for what it calls “egregious” actions. According to Father Vincent Chirichella, pastor of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Astoria, the man, who has not been named, walked through an open door of the church at approximately 8 p.m., before heading to the rectory where he destroyed framed photos of Pope Francis and Brooklyn Bishop Robert Brennan. The man then moved on to the basement, where he spread paint thinner all over the floor. He went back up to the chapel sacristy where he donned a priest’s robe and began inflicting severe damage on himself with a religious item called the “monstrance” before running through the main sanctuary. The vandal opened the Tabernacle and threw the consecrated hosts onto the floor, a final egregious act of religious desecration. Following the incident, the man was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital for evaluation.
What is a monstrance?
A monstrance is a religious item that is used to display the Eucharistic host during Adoration.
What are “consecrated hosts”?
Consecrated hosts are wafers of bread that have been blessed by a priest and are believed to become the body of Christ in Catholicism.
What happens next for the church?
The bishop will re-consecrate the church before mass can resume.
Report: Vandal Goes Crazy, Destroys Photo of Pope Francis and Dresses as Priest at NYC Church.
A disturbed man caused chaos at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Astoria, Queens this week. According to the Diocese of Brooklyn, the 21-year-old man entered the church through an open door at around 8 p.m. on Monday evening, before heading to the rectory. Once inside, he destroyed framed photos of Pope Francis and Brooklyn Bishop Robert Brennan.
The vandal then took things a step further and spread paint thinner all over the basement floor. After this, he made his way to the chapel sacristy where he put on a priest’s robe. But the situation got even worse from there.
As a parish priest walked in, the disturbed man picked up a religious item, known as a monstrance, and repeatedly smashed himself in the head with it. This caused bloodstains on the religious garment and on the vessel.
The vandal’s final act of religious desecration saw him run through the main sanctuary, where he opened the Tabernacle and threw the “consecrated hosts onto the floor”. According to the diocese, this was an “egregious act”.
The police were called and the man was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital to receive treatment and evaluation. Meanwhile, Father Vincent Chirichella, pastor of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Astoria, had nothing but sympathy for the perpetrator. In fact, he forgave him, stating the church was praying for his well-being.
The church building, deemed desecrated by the diocese, will be re-consecrated on Friday at noon. Only then, it will be ready for mass to resume.