A Hollis Church has been vandalized for the third time since 2019, according to the Brooklyn Diocese.
The diocese is working with detectives from the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica following an attempted robbery last weekend at St. Gerard Majella Catholic Church, located at 188-16 91st Ave.
On Sunday morning March 6, a man attempted to steal the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the lawn outside the parish presbytery, removing the Marian statue from the grotto, according to the diocese. Surveillance video shows the man entering the gate, lifting the statue over his shoulder and exiting the property.
The video then shows him tossing the statue back into the rectory garden moments later after a neighbor and a motion light deterred him. The statue suffered no damage.
“Sunday morning as we started to open the church to welcome people to pray in a special way for world peace and blessings during this Lenten season, a disturbed person tried to steal our welcoming statue of Mother Mary,” said Father Josephjude. C. Gannon, parish priest of Saint-Gérard Majella. “Fortunately, thanks to our good neighbors in Hollis, that person did not make it. This incident is sad and a bit scary, but it is a lesson to all of us that even in these dark and scary times, God protects us. The light of Easter will always shine on us and Mother Mary will always guide us as individuals and as a community.
Last August, CCTV captured footage of a man as he attempted to set the church on fire. The men set fire to a scarf and threw it into the church vestibule as the doors were open. The man sat on the steps of the church where he was confronted by Fr. Gannon before fleeing. No one was injured and the church was not damaged.
In September 2019, detectives from the 103rd Precinct arrested a 69-year-old Jamaican woman in connection with two acts of church vandalism. The woman told investigators that “black magic” caused her to bring a hammer to the Rosary Stations, which were made in Italy. Parish signs affixed to a fence, and a sprinkler system at the church.