LA MARQUE, TX --Parishioners of the Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church in La Marque are upset after someone vandalized a large $10,000 statue of Jesus standing right at the entrance. The markings are just big enough to be seen from the street and they're also big enough to upset visitors of the church. Parishioners Alec Mendez was one of the first to see the vandalism Sunday after 9am mass. "It would seem like scribbles on two of them but the other two being the same, or what appears to be the same symbol, makes it look like they mean something to somebody," Mendez said. What that meaning is, no one at the church knows. The markings on the forehead of the Jesus statue as well as the body are similar and look like there were drawn with a black marker. There are also two district phrases -- the words "Who dis?" was scrawled near the words "I'm not Jesus." The parish priest is baffled by the graffiti. "I don't understand what these symbols really mean but when it says 'I'm not Jesus,' that means they want us to deny who Jesus is," Queen of Peace Parish Roman Catholic Church Father Chacko Puthumayil said. The statue was dedicated last year in March, donated by a parishioner and has been a target before. On Halloween, the statue was found wrapped in toilet paper. Weeks later, the spotlight was broken and the plastic flowers were stolen. At the time, Father Puthumayil believed the incidents were random. "Do you believe what happened on Halloween and this weekend are related?" we asked him. "I believe so. It must be the same group of people who do not know what to do," he replied. Most neighbors we talked to had already heard about the vandalism and Catholic or not, neighbors had strong reactions. "I think it's a disgrace and I hope they catch whoever did it," neighbor Mary Brown said. "I think it's sad this is what the world is coming to these days." "I think that's horrible," neighbor Mariam Everett said. "I believe in Christ and I think that's sad somebody would do that to such a beautiful statue." Not only is graffiti upsetting, but it's also considered a crime by the La Marque Police Department. The act of vandalism has been reported to authorities, who now are trying to decipher the meanings of the symbols and determine if they are gang-related. Meanwhile, the Archdiocese Galveston-Houston issued the following statement: "We lift in prayer the alleged perpetrators of these crimes, as well as the parish communities wounded by this vandalism." If you have any information about the vandalism, please call La Marque Crime Stoppers at 409-938-8477. There is a reward for information leading to a conviction.
December 20, 2010 2:55:23 PM PST