LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — Cardinal Timothy Dolan visited a Lower East Side church Tuesday to pray with parishioners after someone damaged there earlier this month.
“To see that destroyed and to decapitate the statues of three little shepherd children to whom our blessed mother appeared at Fatima. That just says something about the diabolical nature of this,” Dolan said.
The vandalism occurred at Our Lady of Sorrows Church on May 16. The suspect or suspects broke into the parish’s Our Lady of Fatima Grotto. While the Shrine of Fatima is intact, multiple statues at the church were desecrated.
Church officials say the vandals jumped over the fence to behead the statues. The diocese is referring to it as a hate crime.
Dolan prayed the Rosary at the vandalized shrine and parishioners prayed along with him. “He’s with us, the Catholic Church is with us. We’re united in this, and we feel the support of the archdiocese,” said parishioner Damaris Saliva.
Our Lady of Sorrows has been on Stanton Street since 1868. The neighborhood was first primarily German, then Italian and now Dominican. The church has remained a special place in the community for nearly 160 years.