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Vandals strike Waddington Catholic Church’s namesake statue

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WADDINGTON - A statue of St. Mary was knocked over and smashed Monday night or early Tuesday morning in an apparent act of vandalism in front of St. Mary’s Church, 34 Oak St.

State police are investigating the incident, but have not determined the cause of the damage. State police said Tuesday they are not yet ruling out an act of nature.

The Rev. Monsignor Harry K. Snow said he was made aware of the statue’s condition just before Tuesday’s 8:30 a.m. mass after one of the parishioners noticed the damage.

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.

Msgr. Snow said there is no indication yet of why the statue was damaged, and he ruled out an act of nature. Citing some recent, strong storms in the area, Msgr. Snow said he didn’t believe any gusts of wind Monday night could have knocked the statue off its base.

The statue, which sits in the church yard near the intersection of Oak Street and Route 37, was knocked off its base and split into several pieces.

“It represents our blessed mother,” Msgr. Snow said of the statue. “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, Sister Jennifer L. Votraw, Diocese of Ogdensburg spokeswoman, said.

“It’s just wanton destruction,” Sr. Votraw said.

Msgr. Snow said the church will try to repair the statue if at all possible.

Sr. Votraw said the statue may prove hard to repair thanks to the type of damage that was done. The head of the statue was knocked off and the face was chipped.

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

Msgr. Snow said he hopes the perpetrator of the crime will be found soon.

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

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