I think we are going to see a lot more of this.
Calif. parish pledges to rebuild after arsonist destroys church
By Kevin J. Jones
Los Angeles, Calif., Apr 20, 2011 / 06:02 am (CNA).- Parishioners at St. John Vianney are determined to rebuild after an April 16 arson attack destroyed their Hacienda Heights, Calif. church.
“The church is completely destroyed, I mean down to ashes and dust. The pews, organ, everything,” parish pastor Msgr. Tim Nichols told the 5 p.m. Sunday Mass. He presented remnants of the altar and tabernacle and said only a few vessels and vestments were saved.
Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala, who lives two blocks away from the 5,000-member church in Los Angeles County, was awakened by a neighbor pounding on his door soon after midnight on Saturday morning. From his front lawn he could see the fire’s flames shooting 150 feet into the air. He rushed to the church to join priests and parishioners watching the blaze destroy the church and the rectory.
The fire burned for almost three hours before firefighters were able to extinguish it.
“The investigators have been quite definitive to me, this was very definitely a deliberate act,” Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, told the Los Angeles Times.
Various crimes have targeted Catholic churches in California in recent years. In January one or more vandals spray-painted the misspelled phrase “Kill the Cathlics” on churches in Anaheim and Irvine.
In May 2010 vandals broke into and ransacked St. Rose of Lima parish school in the city of Maywood in Los Angeles County.
Holy Rosary Church in Woodland near Sacramento has been victimized by theft and vandalism four times since 2007. St. Stanislaus Church in Modesto suffered a burglary and vandal attack which desecrated the sanctuary, knocking down and damaging four statues of the Virgin Mary.