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By Joe Bukuras
Catholic News Agency

A statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe was smashed in half at Corpus Christi parish in Corona on April 1.

“It was very heartbreaking, especially coming at the beginning of Holy Week,” Maria Bravo, the parish office manager, told Catholic News Agency in a statement.

“A lot of parishioners were very emotional about it. They brought flowers. Many offered to help in whatever way they could,” she said.

The vandalism occurred at about 11:30 p.m. on the Saturday on the eve of Palm Sunday.

The vandal, a male, was caught on security cameras walking up to the statue and pulling it down, according to John Andrews, communications director for the Diocese of San Bernardino.

The parish has a strong devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and even has a mural of the apparition on one of the church’s exterior walls. Our Lady of Guadalupe is also the patroness of the Diocese of San Bernardino.

Father Fidel Rivero, the church’s pastor, said his message for the vandal is prayer and forgiveness.

“We just pray for him. We don’t know what his motive was. We ask God to forgive him for whatever he did,” Rivero said.

A police report was filed with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, Andrews said. A parishioner has volunteered to attempt to refurbish the statue, Andrews added.