Parishioners of a prominent Catholic church in North Hollywood were searching for answers Wednesday, July 25, after their beloved sanctuary was severely vandalized before dawn.
Authorities were asking for the public’s help in solving the crime after the Los Angeles Police Department’s North Hollywood Division found evidence of fire outside St. Charles Borromeo Church and “a large amount of property damage” inside, including broken artifacts, turned-over pews and broken stained glass windows, according to Sgt. Barry Montgomery of LAPD’s Media Relations Section.
Mass was canceled Wednesday as a result of the investigation but was set to resume Thursday at 7:30 a.m. and 12:05 p.m., according to a written statement from the Rev. José Magaña, the church’s new pastor.
“I’m just heartbroken, heartbroken for the community,” longtime parishioner Yeni Lozano, 42, whose 5-year-old son was baptized at the church in 2013, said.
She and her family heard about the vandalism on the radio Wednesday while on their way to a coffee shop and felt compelled to visit the church, she said.
“I’m puzzled by all this … it just feels like there is so much hate,” Lozano said.
While authorities said Wednesday that there was no early evidence of a hate crime, “it feels like when you do something like this … [it’s] because it’s a church.”
The towering church at Lankershim Boulevard and Moorpark Street is a local landmark. Roger Mahony, the former archbishop of Los Angeles, continues to live on the church’s grounds.
The construction of the Spanish Colonial-style church was completed in 1959. Entertainers Bob Hope and Bing Crosby were once active members of the parish, according to a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Their children attended the parish school and they held benefit shows for it.
Willow Hale, who also serves as a eucharistic minister, wept outside the church as she heard the news.
“What has our world come to?” she cried. “It’s such a beautiful church…It’s the center of North Hollywood.”
Full story at Los Angeles Daily News.