“It is heartbreaking, but sadly it is becoming more and more common these days.” 

This happened sometime early Saturday at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Forest Hills, just a few blocks from my home parish in Queens:

Parishioners at a church in Queens were left picking up the broken pieces of two religious statues Saturday after a vandal struck overnight.

Police say a woman was spotted by a witness dragging a piece of the statue outside Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic Church around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating.

The Diocese of Brooklyn said the two statues had been on display outside the church since its opening in 1937. One statue was of the Blessed Mother and the other of St. Therese the Little Flower.

From The Tablet in Brooklyn:

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Unit is investigating an act of vandalism in which someone destroyed two statues outside Our Lady of Mercy Church in Forest Hills during the early morning hours of July 17.

The vandal used a hammer to smash a statue of the Blessed Mother and one of St. Therese, The Little Flower, that had stood outside the church for 84 years, according to the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Father Frank Schwarz, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy, said the statues have stood outside the church since the church was built.

“It is heartbreaking, but sadly it is becoming more and more common these days,” Father Schwarz said in a statement. “I pray that this recent rash of attacks against Catholic churches and all houses of worship will end, and religious tolerance may become more a part of our society.”

As the signs say: pray for the person who did this.