CV NEWS FEED // Two Texas permanent deacons led the charge to replace their church’s statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary after it was destroyed in an act of vandalism.
Deacons Ricardo DeLeon and Jesús Valadez were spurred into action on January 8 following the sudden loss of the over 60-year-old Mary statue at All Saints Catholic Church in Fort Worth, TX. The statue was an integral part of the parish community, resting in a neighborhood that was over 90% Hispanic and predominantly Mexican-American.
“The community was devastated,” DeLeon noted. “Mary has a very large devotion, especially among Mexican people. This is a big deal.”
As the Fort Worth Report detailed, the statue was reduced to “a pile of rubble.” “As parishioners came for Sunday mass…the statue was not in its usual spot. Instead, it was shattered in pieces and sprawled across the bed of flowers that it once stood on.”
Security footage obtained by the deacons showed that it was demolished by one man who had been sleeping by the church. The unnamed perpetrator rocked the statue with his hands and then repeatedly threw bricks at it.
DeLeon stated that after the initial police report and a follow-up interview with an investigator, “That was the end of it. We never heard anything beyond that.”
All Saints is not alone in suffering anti-Catholic violence: CatholicVote has documented over 300 attacks nationwide in the last three years. The majority of attacks have taken place since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade in June 2022.
DeLeon and Valadez quickly went to work and tried to find a company to restore the original statue, to no avail.
Then, Valadez, who told the Fort Worth Report that he “wished he had been there at the time of the vandalism to protect the statue,” remembered something.
Classic Stone, a local statue and fountain retailer, was a business the deacon would always drive past while commuting to and from the church. By chance, he decided to stop there and found that they sold statues of the Blessed Mother.
Helped by a store employee named Mary, Valadez selected a five-and-a-half-foot tall statue that cost $1,700. Due to the generosity of parishioners, the deacons were able to pool together enough money to purchase the statue.
On Saturday, June 3, the new statue was positioned on the same flower bed where the old one once stood. As Fort Worth Report clarified, “Though members of the church knew the statue was getting replaced, they didn’t know when.”
The deacons planned this on purpose, so the unveiling would come as a much-needed pleasant surprise to the grieving All Saints parishioners.
As Valadez said, “After that, it was all the commotion.”
In the coming weeks, the new statue is scheduled to be blessed, and the remains of the vandalized original will be buried on church property.
For more information on the escalating attacks on Catholic holy sites and churches, download CV’s Free eBook, Burning the Churches, HERE.