Parishioners react after vandals damage Amherst church - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Parishioners react after vandals damage Amherst church

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AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

Masses have resumed at a Catholic church in Amherst where vandals struck last week.

As police investigate, parishioners are speaking out.

Imagine walking into church for Mass to find your church the victim of vandalism.  That was the case for St. Brigid Catholic Church in Amherst and the question people are asking is why.

“He must be a very angry, upset person...that person needs help," said parishioner Susanna Gavin.

The church’s pastor, Father John Smegle, discovered the damage Wednesday and as a result, canceled Mass for two days.

Church leaders shared these pictures of the damage with Western Mass News exclusively.

“The water fountain things, they were just broken into pieces," Gavin noted. 

Other damage includes a broken stained glass window and a smashed large cross, as well as several statues were knocked down and badly damaged, including a statue of Mary, among others.

The church does have insurance, but It’s unclear how much it will cost to repair and or replace.

Parishioners like Gavin told Western Mass News people have broken in before, damaging doors, but nothing like this.

“Well taken care of, lots of volunteers.  It’s special to people," Gavin said.

Since the incident, other church members have helped clean up so Masses can go on and even though someone out there left this church a mess, Father Smegle points to power of faith, saying in a statement: "We must pray that they will get the help they need and that they will know God's forgiveness.”

Gavin added, “He’s a very caring, very bright, very knowledgeable about the Catholic religion.”

There are no cameras on the property that could help police in their investigation, but they have dusted for fingerprints.

To help the church, you can contact the St. Brigid's Parish Community at 122 North Pleasant Street P.O. Box 424. Tom Perron, who is raising funds for specific projects, can be reached at 413-256-6181.

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