The Boston Police and Fire departments are investigating an arson at a Boston church after a Virgin Mary statue was set on fire Saturday night.
Police responded at about 10 p.m. to a report of a fire near Saint Peter Parish in the city’s Dorchester neighborhood.
Upon arrival, officers saw that a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary had been set on fire.
Police spoke with Boston firefighters, who said that an unknown suspect had set fire to plastic flowers, which were in the hands of the statue, causing the face and upper body of the statue to be burned.
“I was shocked. (There’s) disappointment, sadness,” said Fr. John Curran, the pastor of Saint Peter Parish. “The image of Our Lady is so important for us and our faith. It’s such a contradiction to her love. Mary would never desecrate anyone, never hurt anyone, only offer them the peace and love of Jesus. I think that’s where it really hits us in our hearts.”
A Boston firefighter, who said he was among those who responded to the fire, shared a photo of the burned statue with NewsCenter 5.
The Blessed Virgin Mary statue was placed outside Saint Peter Parish just after the end of World War II to welcome back soldiers who were returning to Dorchester.
On Sunday, neighbors replaced the flowers at the statue that were burned in the fire.
The Archdiocese of Boston said it will clean the burn marks off the statue.
Curran hopes whoever started the fire will come forward and said that the church would be there for them if they were looking for help.
“There’s too much division, too much hatred, too much beating each other up,” he said. “Hopefully, from this, we can have a sign from our God that we need to keep pressing, pressing, pressing the issue of reconciliation, unity and peace.”
The Boston Police Department said it is investigating the arson. Anyone with information is strongly urged to contact detectives at 617-343-4335.
Those who wish to provide an anonymous tip can do so by calling the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-800-494-TIPS or by texting the word “TIP” to CRIME, which is 27463.
The Boston Fire Department’s arson unit is also investigating the fire. The BFD Fire Investigation team can be reached at 617-343-3324.