East Bay News

Union City Catholic church vandalized

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Vandalism shocks Union City Catholic church Parishioners arrived at St. Annes Catholic Church in Union City for Ash Wednesday services to find the church had been vandalized.

Vandals hit a Catholic church in the East Bay at a time when Christians pray for forgiveness on this Ash Wednesday. It happened at St. Anne's Church in Union City.

Police are taking this very seriously and because of the satanic emblems on the side of the church more officers have been dispatched to the church, in light of the destruction that took place overnight.

"Personally, it shocks and disgusts me," said Union City Police Cmdr. Ben Horner.

As police and parishioners surveyed the damage at St. Anne's Catholic Church, they were shocked. An eight-foot cross was split and toppled from its cement base. A stone monument was overturned and statues of the holy family were defaced with black spray paint. Four-foot pentagrams and the words "Carpe Noctem" -- which is Latin for "seize the night" -- and the word "Satan" were spray painted on the outside walls.

"Once we recognized the satanic symbols and the fact that they were placed onto a church and the fact that it was Ash Wednesday, obviously that made it more than coincidental, so we've classified it as a hate crime," said Horner.

"They actually climbed up on the church to get on the second level to do it, to make sure that it would be difficult to remove," said Gerard Kasilag, a parishioner.

"For someone to do something like this, especially on Ash Wednesday is very disturbing to us," said Rosalie Kasilag, a parishioner.

The assault on the Catholic church ended up as the focal point of Ash Wednesday's services.

"There have been a lot of fears, there's a lot of anger," said Father Geoffrey Baraan.

A parishioner discovered the damage early Wednesday morning. There are no security cameras, but police say they do have evidence.

"One has to question whether this is a misguided young person that's out for shock value or whether there's some sort of organized group that's involved in this," said Horner.

"I think who would do such a thing to something so peaceful?" said 10-year-old Jet Kasilag.

Hopefully the peace will return on Thursday. That's when the church will paint over the graffiti and resurrect the Catholic emblems that were defaced.

Police have no suspects in the case.

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vandalism, religion, union city, east bay news
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