Vandals have broken in and desecrated statues at St. Charbel ’s Maronite Church in Punchbowl
Mass attendants were in shock this morning as they found the statue of Virgin Mary smashed to the ground in the window shrine.
It is alleged that the incident took place in the early hours of the morning between 4AM and 5AM today, Thursday 29th January.
Sources reported that perpetrators have entered through the church parking located at the corner of Highclere Avenue and Wattle Street Punchbowl and reached to the external shrine that is integrated in one of the church external walls and secured by glass.
The act of vandalism resulted in malicious damage to the holy shrine of Virgin Mary and St. Charbel . The statue of Virgin Mary was smashed in half and the top part was left lying on the base of the shrine. The statue of St. Charbel was also partly damaged.
Police were called to the scene by the Superior of Saint Charbel’s Monastery Father Joseph Sleiman. Fingerprints and CCTV footage were taken and investigations commenced.
This incident coincides with the start of the new academic year where the school adjacent to the Church, St Charbel’s School was preparing to hold its teacher’s meeting.
In a phone interview on radio 2Moro – Sawt El Ghad this morning, Superior Father Joseph Sleiman said: “We trust the police and leave the matter in their capable hands… there are surveillance cameras in all the church zones”. He continued: “This is not a first time incident as a few weeks ago a failed break and enter attempt took place. Yet this time the attack extended to reach our religious symbols and this is unacceptable in a democratic country like Australia”.
Father Sleiman also highlighted that the coincidence of this attack with the first back-to-school day, may have been intended to relay a message of terrorism.
The attack also coincides with the scheduled mass of ‘Brothers United in Christ’ taking place at St Charbel’s Church tonight at 8:15PM.