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Crucifix, Virgin Mary and US flag attacked at two Catholic centers in Brooklyn

A crucifix dedicated to the late mother of a New York monsignor was vandalized in Brooklyn and three days later a statue of the Virgin Mary was also attacked in that county, generating rejection even from Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The statue of Jesus dying on the cross, the holiest image in the Catholic faith, was crushed and an American flag burned outside St. Athanasius Church on Bay Parkway at 61st Street in Bensonhurst Thursday night. Police called the act a possible hate crime and said the unknown assailant jumped over the church fence before destroying the sacred symbols.

“My mother spent the last two years of her life living in the rectory,” Bishop David Cassato told the New York Post after Mass on Saturday morning, holding back tears. “Was sick with cancer and she became such a friend to everyone that when she died people wanted to do something to keep her memory alive and that’s why we dedicate the cross to him ”.

The crucifix in the cemetery was erected and dedicated to Mrs. Fay Cassato in 2010, one year after her death. Now, a vandal tore down the image of Jesus, tore it to pieces, and set the American flag on fire hanging outside the rectory, according to police.

The attack prompted a response from Governor Cuomo. “It displeases me to know that the church of St. Athanasius, a historically Italian-American place of worship in Brooklyn, it has been vandalized, ”it said in a statement Saturday. “These hateful acts should offend and outrage all New Yorkers, and I want the Bensonhurst community to know that we will do everything we can to bring the cowardly hooligans responsible for this to justice. Hate has no place in our state and, as New Yorkers, we celebrate our diversity. ”

Just three days after the first attack, the statue of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus was vandalized in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.

A diocesan employee at 310 Prospect Park West first noticed Sunday that the image of the child Jesus had been beheaded, according to the police, but at the time it was not known exactly when the attack had occurred. This case is also being investigated as a hate crime, the archdiocese said in a statement.

The crimes follow a series of incidents of broken windows in Jewish institutions in the section Riverdale, The Bronx, last month. A man was arrested for that vandalism, but was released by a judge.

Later, a mosque in Coney Island (Brooklyn) was vandalized with the words “Death 2 Palestine” (Death to Palestine) last Thursday night, the last day of Ramadan, the NYPD said.

In the past week, the City Council unanimously passed a bill that would increase criminal penalties for defacing churches, synagogues and mosques from $ 500 to $ 1,000.

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