A small Santa Clara, California, chapel dedicated to offering the traditional Latin Mass was the target of vandals. Sometime between Friday evening, March 23, and Sunday morning, March 25, vandals defaced a statue of Madonna and Child in front of the Oratory of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel, 1298 Homestead Road, in Santa Clara.
The vandals applied “an unknown substance” to the faces of both Madonna and Child, according to a report from a parishioner. The incident was reported to the Santa Clara Police Department.
"When I arrived Sunday morning several parishioners were gathered around the statue discussing and taking pictures," said one witness in an email to California Catholic Daily. "We are not sure what was applied but it was most likely spray painted."
Since 2007, when San Jose Bishop Patrick McGrath designated the oratory chapel as an approved location for “the celebration of the Mass in Latin according to the Missal of 1962,” priests approved by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest have been offering the Latin Mass there.
The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is a religious order specifically dedicated to the celebration of the traditional Mass.
Currently, Extraordinary Rite Masses are offered at the Oratory chapel on Sundays at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., and 5:30 p.m. The schedule for weekday Masses varies.
The vandalism at the Oratory of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel marks the latest in a string of crimes directed at Catholic institutions in California dating back several years. On Ash Wednesday, vandals desecrated St. Anne Catholic Church in Union City, destroying a cross, defacing statues and spray painting satanic symbols on church walls.
In November 2011, vandals knocked over monuments and headstones at Rohnerville Catholic Cemetery, where they scattered mutilated animal parts across the cemetery grounds.
In April 2011, someone used black paint to spray crude slogans on either side of the entrance to St. Barbara’s Parish at historic Mission Santa Barbara. A week earlier, a fire that investigators said was deliberately set destroyed St. John Vianney Church in Hacienda Heights. The fire, which began shortly after midnight on a Saturday, left only a burned out shell where the 5000-member parish’s sanctuary once stood. Various press reports said the blaze caused an estimated $8 million to $10 million in damages.
In January 2011, a vandal spray-painted the words “Kill the Cathlics” on the walls of St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim and St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Irvine.
Beginning in December 2010, Holy Family Catholic Church in Glendale was forced to tighten security measures after a thief repeatedly broke into collection boxes used by parishioners to donate money to the needy.
In November 2010, Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Woodland was victimized by criminals for the fourth time since 2007. Thieves broke into the parish office and stole more than $2000. Just days before Christmas 2009, vandals knocked over and smashed into pieces a 60-year-old statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary dedicated to the memory of veterans outside Holy Rosary. Vandals also entered the church sometime during the same time period and desecrated a Nativity scene. A week earlier, someone entered the church and pushed over a statue of St. Joseph, cracking the base of the statue.
In October 2010, someone burglarized the rectory at St. Stanislaus Church in Modesto. The thief or thieves stole a computer sometime over the weekend of Oct. 16-17. In late August of 2010, vandals broke into and vandalized St. Stanislaus, breaking a window to gain entrance. The vandal or vandals knocked down four statutes of the Blessed Virgin and desecrated the sanctuary. Among the damaged statues was one from Belgium that was more than 200 years old and is considered irreplaceable.
In late May 2010, vandals broke into and ransacked St. Rose of Lima parish school in Maywood. They scrawled “666” on walls and drove a knife into the face of a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Maywood-Cudahy Police Department reported. “Further investigation revealed that some of the vandalism was of a heinous nature, and in fact, consistent with a ‘hate crime,’" said the police statement. “The suspect(s) defecated in the auditorium (adjacent to the kitchen area) and wrote ‘666’ on areas of the kitchen, and a cross was displayed in a sacrilegious manner,” police said.
In April 2009, just hours before Easter services were to commence, a vandal or vandals decapitated a statue of the Blessed Virgin outside Santa Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica. In early January of 2009, vandals spray-painted swastikas and the message “Niederauer, Ratzinger – where is the love” on the front walls of Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in San Francisco.
In late October of 2008, a ciborium containing consecrated hosts was removed from a locked tabernacle and stolen during a burglary at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Watsonville. The thieves also stole a safe that had been bolted to the floor containing $44,400 in cash and checks.