Catholic shrine vandalised twice in Illinois
A roadside shrine in the Catholic parish of Saint Bernadette in Rockford, Illinois has been vandalised and destroyed twice within three weeks - but the community is determined to rebuild it “a thousand times,” if necessary. The little shrine with the message “Jesus loves you” houses a crucifix and is located close to a bus stop in front of the church.
On the 5th of July, the first act of vandalism took place, as reported by The Observer, the newspaper of the local diocese. “Parish staff member Kevin Rilott had recently restained the wood of the shrine, which has been in place on the parish campus for about five years. He says he could tell from marks on the wood that the corpus statue was destroyed by a hammer.”
Rilott speculated that the shrine was vandalised “in imitation of the destruction perpetrated the past several weeks against statues, including religious statues, around the country.”
On the 24th of July, “someone took a sledgehammer to our rebuilt shrine and destroyed it again,” the parish announced via Flocknote, a popular tool parishes use to communicate with the faithful.
Responding to increasing numbers of acts of vandalism, a White House official stated that the “criminals” who have carried out the violent attacks will be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.”