DENVER (KDVR) — Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine is normally a place of peace and prayer.
However, this weekend it was also a crime scene.
Someone beheaded the statue of St. Jude, and destroyed dozens of candles in the shrine’s sacred courtyard.
“This is not good. It’s ugly. I don’t have words. I don’t know why people are like that,” Sandra Bartolo said, who visited the courtyard on Monday to pray.
Bartolo is one of the many parishioners at the predominately Hispanic parish who were shocked to discover the damage.
Bernadette Medina Gonzalez also regularly comes to the courtyard to pray, especially during COVID-19.
“That’s where people come and they leave their candles and pray because we can’t all fit into the church,” she said.
In 2016, the Our Lady of Guadalupe parish was named a diocesan shrine, a place of pilgrimage for many Catholics.
“The little courtyard is a place you can go to pray when you need to be by yourself. It’s a meditation area. It’s very calming,” parishioner Grace Silva said.
The church is now debating whether to lock the courtyard, but for now many will continue to visit and to pray not just for themselves, but for the vandal or vandals who caused damage to the space sacred to so many Denver Catholics.
“I would pray for that person so that person receives forgiveness for doing something that person didn’t need to do,” Bartolo said.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Archbp. Lefebvre 1980