The Diocese of Brooklyn has responded to an act of vandalism at a parish this past Sunday, and released a video showing a man “desecrating” the altar during Mass.
According to a statement released by the Brooklyn diocese on Tuesday, the incident occurred during the 9:30 a.m. Sunday Mass at St. Anthony of Padua parish in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Video footage from above the sanctuary shows a man approaching the altar while Father Jossy Vattothu is celebrating Mass. The man, carrying a jar of juice, pours the contents on the altar and tosses some towards Fr. Vattothu.
The diocese called the event a “desecration” of the altar and “a heinous act of religious intolerance.”
The man then turns and walks down the main aisle before being obstructed by Mass attendees. He was subsequently arrested by the New York Police Department and, according to amNewYork, taken by police to Woodhull hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Fr. Vattothu, a member of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate who is assigned to the diocese, said that in his ten years as a priest he had never witnessed such an incident, and initially thought the man wanted to tell him something as he approached the altar.
“It is a miracle that the bread and wine were not damaged, and I was able to continue the Mass, consecrating the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ,” he stated. “I pray for this person and do not know what was going through his mind.”
In response to Sunday’s desecration, the chancellor of the diocese called attention to a rise in attacks on and desecrations of churches and synagogues.
Read more. And watch the video of the incident below.