Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Catholic Shrine Destroyed

October 17, 2002|From Associated Press

VILLANUEVA, N.M. — Vandals have destroyed statues and other religious articles in a community grotto in this central New Mexico town.

The Villanueva grotto -- an open-air hilltop shrine built in the 1950s by locals -- was a place of peace for area Roman Catholics seeking to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe, considered the town patroness.

"Never have we seen such utter vandalism and sheer, utter hatred," said the Rev. Francis Malley, Catholic pastor for the surrounding parish, as he stood near the wreckage.

Wax from broken devotional candles melted in the sun and rosary beads lay in the dirt as people visited the site Tuesday to see the damage.

Statues of Our Lady, St. Joseph and the infant Jesus at the shrine also were smashed. A small wooden statue of San Isidro appeared undamaged.

"I feel that it's empty," Celina Serna said as she wept at the grotto. "Even from the road, you look up here now and it looks empty."

State police are investigating the vandalism, discovered Sunday. The grotto is the focal point for the village's annual Aug. 15 celebration to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|