[Article] Vandals Attack Santa Cruz Church

Santa Cruz: Vandals damage Father Serra artifact at Holy Cross Church

By Cathy Kelly
Santa Cruz Sentinel
May 8, 2012

A baptismal font dating from the late 1700s was pushed over and tagged with
graffiti in a courtyard behind the Santa Cruz Mission chapel.

Graffiti left on a wall behind the Santa Cruz Mission chapel, which reads
'this was made by slaves.'

SANTA CRUZ -- A vandal or vandals caused widespread damage at Holy Cross
Church early Sunday in what police are investigating as a possible hate

The damaged items included a baptismal font brought to Mission Santa Cruz by
Junipero Serra in the late 1700s, a church spokesman said.

A custodian discovered the destruction to the main church and other areas on
the property about 6:50 a.m., police spokesman Zach Friend said. Police
believe the damage was done about 4 a.m., he said.

It included windows shattered by rocks and paint sprayed and poured on
doors, walls, statues, a fountain area and sidewalks, Friend said. Some
anti-church slogans and symbols were painted, he said.

Targets included the main church, the museum, the adjacent Siena House (a
home serving pregnant women), and a garden area beside the historic chapel,
said Warren Hoy, spokesman for the Diocese of Monterey.

The vandal or vandals went so far as to climb on the roof so they could
spray paint on the church's bell tower, Hoy said.

Paint was a poured on statues of Junipero Serra and the blessed Virgin Mary,
he said.

Those statues and the original baptismal font were in a garden area adjacent
to the chapel and Mission Galeria gift shop, he said.

"They got a little bit of everything," Hoy said. "They were so thorough,
that is why I keep saying 'they.' They took some time to do all this."

Stained glass windows ringing the main church building,
which was rebuilt after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, were largely
spared, Hoy said. But some of the Plexiglas on the outside of those windows
was damaged.

It's unclear what the repair will cost, or whether the historic font could
be repaired, he said.

"The sad thing is a lot of stuff they damaged were cultural artifacts, so
they were not just attacking the church," he said. "It's the history of it."
Holy Cross has suffered vandalism before, some of it specifically aimed at
the history of the Mission era.

"Holy Cross is something of a lightening rod," Hoy said. "It is the obvious
famous church in Santa Cruz, so if you want to do something to the Church,
with a capital C, you attack the Catholic Church, and when you do, you
attack Holy Cross.

"And it's readily accessible, it's a church, it's not walled off." Hoy added
that while they are working with the police to find who damaged the
property, they are praying for them too.

"They are obviously in a lot of pain and with any luck they will repent and
turn themselves in," he said.

The church is alarmed, but the vandalism outside did not prompt an alarm,
Hoy said.

They might need to consider motion lights, he said.

Friend said the suspect damaged a video camera on the church property also,
and that investigators are working to determine if any video was captured
before the damage was done.

Police are looking into the possibility of this being a hate crime, he said.

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
-Albert Schweitzer

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