Masked Man Vandalizes Statue at Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

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A masked man took a hammer to a statue at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast D.C. Sunday night.

The vandal smashed the hands, face and crown of the "Our Lady of Fatima" statue.

The bells of the Basilica rang Wednesday, marking a holy day of obligation in the Catholic church: the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The vandalized statue was dedicated in 2017, marking the centennial year commemorating the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima.

A spokesperson for the Basilica said a man jumped a fence Sunday about 11 p.m., then smashed the face, cut off the hands and damaged the cross on the crown of the statue.

In a statement, the rector of the Basilica said, “As he left, he took her hands. We have contacted the authorities, and though we are deeply pained by the incident, we pray for the perpetrator through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary under title of Our Lady of Fatima.”

“They’re very hateful and they’re in a lot of pain,” a visitor said. “It’s a soul in a lot of pain.”

D.C. police are investigating. They say they have the surveillance video of the man with the hammer.

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