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Vandals strike Waddington Catholic Church’s namesake statue

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WADDINGTON — A statue of the Virgin Mary was knocked over and smashed in front of St. Mary’s Church in an apparent act of vandalism that appalled church leaders and parishioners.

State police are investigating the incident, which occurred Monday night or early Tuesday in front of the church at 34 Oak St. They said they are not ruling out an act of nature.

Monsignor Harry K. Snow said he learned of the damage just before Tuesday’s 8:30 a.m. Mass after a parishioner noticed it. The church immediately reported the damage to the state police.

“It’s a heinous crime, and there’s no justification for it,” Msgr. Snow said.

Monsignor Snow said there is no indication why the statue was damaged, and he ruled out an act of nature. Despite recent, strong storms in the area, Monsignor Snow said he didn’t believe a gust of wind Monday night could have knocked the statue off its base and broke it into several pieces.

“It represents our blessed mother,” Monsignor Snow said. “The church was named after the blessed mother. You might think it’s just a piece of stone, but there’s a whole theology behind that.”

The statue was donated by Mary Monihon of Louisville in 1959 in memory of her family, said Sister Jennifer L. Votraw, Diocese of Ogdensburg spokeswoman.

“It’s just wanton destruction,” she said.

Monsignor Snow said the church will try to repair the statue if possible.

Sister Votraw said the statue may prove hard to repair because of the type of damage. The head of the figure was knocked off and the face was chipped.

“Parishioners take it to heart,” Monsignor Snow said. “One of them was crying when she spoke with me on the phone today.”

Monsignor Snow said he hopes the perpetrator will be found soon.

“The community is small enough so someone might have a hint and come forward,” he said.

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