Manitoba

'A real sadness': Manitoba congregation devastated after church vandalized

Parishoners of a Roman Catholic church in a small town west of Winnipeg were shocked to discover their place of worship had been seriously vandalized on the weekend, the second attack on a Manitoba church in recent weeks.

Statues destroyed at Roman Catholic church in the rm of St-François-Xavier

The Roman Catholic church in the rm of St-François-Xavier was vandalized at some point overnight Saturday. (Submitted by Headingley RCMP)

Parishoners of a Roman Catholic church in a small town west of Winnipeg arriving for Sunday morning mass were shocked to discover their place of worship had been seriously vandalized on the weekend.

It was the second attack on a Manitoba church in recent weeks.

The vandalism at St. François Xavier parish in the rural municipality of the same name was reported to Headingley RCMP at 8 a.m. Sunday. 

Father Michel Nault, the church's pastor, said the damage was discovered by people coming to church Sunday morning. 

"You just felt the empty inside for a moment there," he said. "There was just a real sadness.

"One of the things that touched me the most was to see a young girl at the entrance of the door — a little seven-year-old who was visibly upset. That was quite touching for me."

Statues were smashed and a fire extinguisher was discharged in the attack. (Submitted by Headingley RCMP)

The damage included smashed statues of Mary and Joseph that Nault says cannot be repaired.

"This is significant damage, not just a chip here and there," he said. 

Headingley RCMP reported that someone entered the church overnight Saturday, smashed the statues and discharged a fire extinguisher. A vehicle was spotted in the church park at about 1 a.m. 

Police are asking the public to come forward with information. You can contact Headingley RCMP at (204) 888-0358 or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, or submit a secure tip online atwww.manitobacrimestoppers.com.

This is the second recent case of vandalism at a church in Manitoba. 

A statue at the Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vladimir & Olga on McGregor Street was decapitated on the May Long weekend.

The severed head has since been recovered, but police are still trying to recover a missing staff from the statue. 

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With files from Information Radio