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Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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6/13/2017 9:29:00 AM
Vandals strike twice at Holy Rosary Parish
Sarah Wolf/Catholic SentinelFor the third time in the past few decades, the grotto at Holy Rosary Parish in Portland has been desecrated. The statue that once sat here now lies in pieces on the church property.
Sarah Wolf/Catholic Sentinel
For the third time in the past few decades, the grotto at Holy Rosary Parish in Portland has been desecrated. The statue that once sat here now lies in pieces on the church property.
Less than a month after the statue was destroyed, a rock was thrown into a window at the parish resulting in damage to the exterior window pane but sparing the stained-glass underneath.
Less than a month after the statue was destroyed, a rock was thrown into a window at the parish resulting in damage to the exterior window pane but sparing the stained-glass underneath.
Nestled along the side of the church at Portland’s Holy Rosary Parish sits a grotto, bordered by rock and greenery. Until the morning of May 11, the grotto held a statue of Mary. That is, until in the middle of the night, someone came and grabbed the statue, pulling it to the ground in pieces. The broken statue resulted in the image being separated from the pedestal on which it sat.

This isn’t the first time the grotto at the Northeast Portland parish has been desecrated. Dominican Father Vincent Kelber, pastor of Holy Rosary, says it has happened three times in the past few decades. Previously, the grotto held not only a large statue of Mary, but also a statue of Bernadette and a waterfall. He hopes to use this most recent desecration as a chance  to restore the grotto to its original state and surround it by a wrought-iron fence.

The statue of Mary is needed to bring healing and peace, says the Dominican friar.
“That image of Our Lady is for everybody, including those who have repeatedly thrown her down,” he says.
Not only is an image of the mother of God noticed by people in the neighborhood but so is her absence, he adds. Father Kelber is raising funds to help restore the grotto.

Less than a month after the statue was destroyed, a rock was thrown into a window at the parish. Fortunately, only the exterior pane was penetrated, sparing the intricate stained-glass window underneath. Because there is video footage from the incident, Father Kelber was able to identify the vandal. He says it almost certainly was caused by drug use. As of when this newspaper went to print, the parish was awaiting repairs to the window.





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