EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish is the fifth Catholic Parish to have been vandalized this past year alone.
As we’ve reported, there’s already been four previous churches vandalized in the Borderland. However, church officials said this act of hate won’t define them.
Father Ed Roden-Lucero at Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish said the church fell victim to hate on the early morning of December 6th, “Here’s a concrete example of violence and hate against God and against property against a community of faith.”
Roden-Lucero shared its unknown how many people were involved but the damage consisted of broken windows, a bible and a framed picture of Our Lady Guadalupe set one fire, and the church’s front office ransacked.
These damages are being estimated at a worth of $75,000.
These acts, Roden-Lucero said, is unfortunately not rare to see, “If you were to Google vandalism against churches you would get dozens of hits. So this is something that’s happening in communities of faith and different denominations all over the country and even all over the world. It’s not even confined to our country.”
According to the church, the suspects also turned two crosses upside down and left different satanic symbols on the outside of multiple windows and doors.
Although the church has a security system, Roden-Lucero said it needs upgrades, “We do have a security camera system but it is the original system from the building so we actually started a fundraiser in August to make that upgrade.”
Despite the act of violence against the church, the congregation hopes to send another message.
“Hate has its own force, and prejudice has its own force,” Roden-Lucero shared, “So trying to use a sad example of making a good point about how important it is that we try to be good Christians and to give witness of our faith.”
The fire and vandalism are being investigated by the El Paso Fire and Police Department, AFT, along with the FBI.
The Parish said it’s being investigated as a hate crime due to the similar attacks at other Catholic Parishes in the city.