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‘Sad, and a bit scary’: Hollis church statue vandalized during attempted robbery

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The aftermath of the attempted robbery of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the lawn outside St. Gerard Majella. (Photo courtesy of Diocese of Brooklyn)

A Hollis church has been vandalized for the third time since 2019, according to the Diocese of Brooklyn.

The Diocese is working with detectives from the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica following an attempted robbery this past weekend at St. Gerard Majella Catholic Church, located at 188-16 91st Ave.

On Sunday morning, March 6, a man tried to steal the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the lawn outside the parish rectory, removing the Marian statue from the grotto, according to the Diocese. Surveillance video shows the man entering the gate, lifting the statue over his shoulder, and exiting the property.

The video then shows him throwing the statue back into the rectory garden moments later after a neighbor and a motion light deterred him. There was no damage to the statue.

“Sunday morning, as we started opening up the church to welcome people to pray in a special way for peace in the world, and blessings during this Lenten season, a disturbed person attempted to steal our welcoming statue of Mother Mary,” said Father Josephjude C. Gannon, Pastor of St. Gerard Majella. “Thankfully, due to our good neighbors in Hollis, this person did not succeed. This incident is sad, and a bit scary, but is a lesson for all of us that even in those dark and frightening moments, God is protecting us. The light of Easter will always shine on us and Mother Mary will always guide us as individuals and as a community.”

The aftermath of the attempted robbery of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the lawn outside St. Gerard Majella. (Photo courtesy of Diocese of Brooklyn)

Last August, video surveillance captured images of a man as he tried to set the church on fire. The men set a scarf alight and threw it into the church vestibule while the doors were open. The man sat down on the church’s steps where he was confronted by Fr. Gannon before running off. Nobody was hurt and the church was not damaged.

In Sept. 2019, detectives from the 103rd Precinct arrested a 69-year-old Jamaica woman in connection to two acts of vandalism at the church. The woman told investigators that “black magic” caused her to take a hammer to the Rosary Stations, which were crafted in Italy. The parish signs affixed to a fence, and a sprinkler system at the church.

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