Bishop Barron, expressing ‘outrage,’ vows to reconsecrate vandalized cemetery

vandalism One or more vandals desecrated a Catholic cemetery in Rochester, Minnesota, on Oct. 31, 2022, Halloween night. | Courtesy of Calvary Cemetery

Bishop Robert Barron has pledged to reconsecrate a Catholic Minnesota cemetery vandalized on Halloween night with satanic and vulgar graffiti.

“On this feast of All Souls, when the Church honors our beloved dead, I would like to express my outrage at this desecration and my assurance of prayers for the families of those whose final resting places were so dishonored,” Barron, the head of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, said in a Nov. 2 statement on Twitter. 

Steven Flynn, director of the diocese’s Calvary Cemetery in Rochester, told CNA that five memorial walls in the cemetery were heavily covered with blue and brown graffiti. He also said that two grave markers, a statue of Christ, and a cross were covered in graffiti. The cleanup and repair costs could go as high as $8,000, Flynn estimated.

Photos of the graffiti show vulgar messages and the words “In Satan we trust.”

“Cemetery staff is working diligently to repair the damage and restore the grounds, and once their task is completed, I pledge to bless and re-consecrate this sacred space. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace,” Barron said. 

“The Diocese of Winona-Rochester will cooperate with the police in assuring that those responsible are brought to justice,” Barron added.

Flynn said he was angry when he discovered the vandalism, especially because All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2) is the cemetery’s “biggest day” for visitation. 

“I hope they find their way,” he said about the vandals. “They’re heading down the wrong path.”

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