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Shattered statue leads Indianapolis church to call for prayers and police

Vandals target statue outside church in downtown Indy

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A shattered statue in downtown Indianapolis has Catholic church leaders asking for prayers.

The statue depicts Saint Joseph, and until this week it had long stood in one piece at the top of the steps of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception at New Jersey Street and Vermont Avenue.

Now, as shown in photos from church leaders, it’s broken in half – with the legs still near the building and Joseph’s torso and head, face-up, on the bottom step. There’s also significant damage to the concrete stairs.

Statue that long stood at top of the steps on the New Jersey Avenue side of St. Mary Catholic Church (Photo from St. Mary’s Facebook)

“As many of you are aware, our marble statue of St. Joseph was vandalized last night,” Father Jeffrey Dufresne wrote in a message to his congregation, posted Thursday afternoon.

So far there are few details about exactly when it happened or if police are church leaders have any idea who did it. A post from the Archdiocese weekly newspaper, The Criterion, indicates the church has reported the damage to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. The story says the statue is made of marble and weighs some 800 pounds.

The damage appears to be a blow to recent efforts to restore and revitalize St. Mary Catholic Church. As we covered in 2022, the church held a large fundraising campaign to repair the building’s crumbling façade.

The St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception parish is one of the oldest in Indiana, dating back to the 1850’s. It initially served as a cultural center of the city’s German population. In recent years, it has served a similar role for Hispanic Catholics in Indianapolis.

The full statement from the pastor:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As many of you are aware, our marble statue of St. Joseph was vandalized last night. We are saddened by the damage done to this priceless image of the foster father of our Lord. St. Mary is proud to be a Catholic presence in the downtown Indianapolis community, and we are grateful for the good relationships we enjoy with many community partners. I invite you to take a moment today to pray the Litany of St. Joseph for the conversion of those who committed this act of vandalism and for peace in our city.

St. Joseph, Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us!

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