Students and staff of St. Catherine of Siena Separate School gathered at the church for a prayer service led by Fr. Camillo Lando May 28. The St. Catherine school has pledged to pay for a new statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus following a third attack of vandalism on the church grounds May 20. Photo courtesy of St. Catherine of Siena Separate School

St. Catherine Siena community pray together in front of damaged statue

  • May 28, 2015

For two months the St. Catherine of Siena community was the target of several acts of vandalism. On May 28, the story ended on a blessed note.

At 11:30 a.m., the students of St. Catherine of Siena Separate School walked next door to St. Catherine of Siena church for a prayer service in front of the damaged Sacred Heart of Jesus statue.

The statue was covered in black paint and scrawled with graffiti on May 20, the third time the parish property was vandalized this spring.

Parish pastor Fr. Camillo Lando said it was important the students recognized that although something bad had happened to the community, it must be answered with forgiveness and love.

"I said the reason why we were there and what happened to our school and church and to follow the example of Jesus to win hatred with doing good things," said Fr. Lando.

The entire school population of about 540 students and teachers prayed together. Vice president Rob Scicluna said the school has pledged to pay for the replacement of the statue and they plan on blessing the new statue at the beginning of the next school year.

A 22-year-old Mississauga man has been charged in connection with alleged hate crimes. Iqbal Hessan faces five counts of mischief over $5,000, and break, enter and commit indictable offence.

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