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Jesus statue desecrated: Mess cleaned up within 2 hrs.; basilica pastor urges prayers for perpetrator(s)
Thursday, 15 July 2021 22:42

From Staff Reports 

The widely revered Sacred Heart of Jesus statue, which has been standing for decades beside the Basilica of St. Lawrence in downtown Asheville, was doused in oil-based red paint in an act of vandalism over the Fourth of July weekend, “but the majesty was quickly restored by parish staff,” according to a report in the July 6 edition of the Catholic News Herald.

The vandalism to the 7-foot-tall statue, which is visible to west-bound motorists along I-240, was noticed upon arrival for Mass around 8 a.m. July 4 by parish staff and attendees. (The statue actually stands 10 feet tall, when the base is included, the CNH noted.)

“Parish Property Manager Bud Hansbury used graffiti remover, then repainted the statue of Jesus from the neck down, restoring its beauty before the noon Mass on Sunday (July 4),” the CNH reported.

“The damage occurred sometime after the vigil Mass on Saturday evening (July 3),” the CNH wrote. 

Meanwhile, the Rev. Roger Arnsparger, pastor at the basilica, said in a prepared statement, “The good news is our devoted curator and property manager had the mess cleaned up within a couple of hours,” (The pastor’s full statment on the incident appears to the right.)

Arnsparger reportedly spoke to parishioners that Sunday (July 4) about the incident, “asking them to pray for peace and respect for everyone,” the CNH stated. “The parish reported the incident to the Asheville Police Department.”

“We are praying for those who did this, and we are endlessly grateful for the support of our community,” the CNH quoted Arnsparger as saying.

 

Full statement from the pastor at the basilica

“Sadly, when we arrived for Mass on Sunday morning (July 4), we discovered that someone had defaced our widely revered statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which has greeted westbound motorists on I-240 in Asheville for decades. 

“The good news is our devoted curator and property manager had the mess cleaned up within a couple of hours. The statue features Jesus with arms outstretched and the image of a heart upon His chest, representing Christ’s love for all of humanity. 

“We reported the incident to police and are praying for those who did this, and we are endlessly grateful for the support of our community.”
– The Very Rev. Roger Arnsparger, pastor, St. Lawrence Basilica

 



 


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