Diocesan News

Vandals Declare ‘Hate Crime’ in Catholic Cemetery Desecration

LINCOLN (SNR) – The maintenance building of Calvary Cemetery in Lincoln was broken into and suffered an estimated $50,000 worth of damage in an attack the vandals themselves declared a "hate crime."

The words "hate crime" were spray-painted on a wall, along with many other epithets and vulgarities. The vandals also plugged sinks and left after turning the water on, which caused flooding throughout the building. Above a flooded sink they spray-painted, "UR FLOODING, CALL NOAH."

"The perpetrators stated clearly that their intention was to foment hatred for those who believe in Jesus Christ," said Father Daniel Rayer, chancellor of the Diocese of Lincoln, in a statement issued by the Diocese.

"In this attack," he said, "particular vehemence was foisted upon sacred images and objects used for divine worship." The vandals destroyed a chalice and ciborium, and spray-painted Mass vestments.

The vandals also used a sledge hammer to access a locked office, and groundskeeper Ken Scheel said the vandals spray-painted nearly everything in sight.

The damage was discovered early Friday morning when employees arrived at the building. The only thing reported missing is a five-gallon can of gasoline. None of the grave sites or mausoleums were damaged.

"People of good will are shocked and saddened by this evil attack upon religious faith," Father Rayer said. "Catholics of Lincoln, especially those who have their beloved buried on the grounds of Calvary Cemetery, are thankful to the community for their expressions of support."

Father Rayer added that the diocese is grateful to the members of the Lincoln Police Department for their diligent work in investigating this crime and their meticulous work in gathering the evidence.

"God is merciful, but He is also just," he said. "Those who have no respect for what is holy, will come face to face with Him Whom they have offended. We pray for their speedy apprehension and their sincere repentance."

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