A statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe was smashed in half at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Corona, California, on April 1. 

“It was very heartbreaking, especially coming at the beginning of Holy Week,” Maria Bravo, the parish office manager, told CNA in a statement Thursday. 

“A lot of parishioners were very emotional about it. They brought flowers. Many offered to help in whatever way they could,” she said. 

The vandalism occurred at about 11:30 p.m. on the Saturday on the eve of Palm Sunday. 

The vandal, a male, was caught on security cameras walking up to the statue and pulling it down, according to John Andrews, communications director for the Diocese of San Bernardino.

The parish has a strong devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and even has a mural of the apparition on one of the church’s exterior walls. Our Lady of Guadalupe is also the patroness of the Diocese of San Bernardino. 

Father Fidel Rivero, the church’s pastor, said his message for the vandal is prayer and forgiveness. 

“We just pray for him. We don’t know what his motive was. We ask God to forgive him for whatever he did,” Rivero said. 

A police report was filed with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, Andrews said. A parishioner has volunteered to attempt to refurbish the statue, Andrews added.

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In a statement on Twitter, the diocese wrote: “This past weekend Corpus Christi, Corona, had their Our Lady of Guadalupe statue vandalized. We offer our prayers to the Patroness of our diocese, Our Lady of Guadalupe, to be with the community of Corpus Christi at this time. Please keep them all in your #prayers

On the same day that Corpus Christi was vandalized, another Catholic church in Syracuse, Nebraska, was also attacked. 

Father Ryan Salisbury, pastor of St. Paulinus Catholic Church, discovered Saturday morning that the altar had been tipped over, a statue desecrated, and several other objects damaged. 

A Sacred Heart of Jesus statue was broken beyond repair and candlesticks were damaged as well as the altar stone. The damage amounted to $5,000, he said. The tabernacle and the Eucharist remained untouched.