A chilling example of hatred toward Christians and their churches is being treated by the FBI as a hate crime, according to the priest at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in East El Paso, Texas.
The break-in and arson at St. Thomas Aquinas occurred around 2 a.m. on Dec. 6, according to KTSM.com. The attack is now the fourth incident involving arson and vandalism at an El Paso Catholic Church in 2019.
According to Father Ed Roden-Lucero, the vandals broke windows in the gathering area to gain entry. Landscaping rocks were then used to break windows in the parish office and bookkeeping office.
The bookkeeping office was ransacked and a Bible was set on fire on a chair inside.
A second fire was started on a table that sits below a framed image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The fire badly damaged the picture and the wall.
Two crosses were turned upside down on the office walls and Satanic symbols were left on the outside of windows and glass doors, Father Roden-Lucero said.
The fire and vandalism are being investigated by El Paso Police, El Paso Fire Department Investigators, ATF, and the FBI.
The other incidents of arson involving Catholic churches are:
- May 7 – St. Matthew Catholic Church; 400 W. Sunset
- May 12 – St. Patrick Cathedral; 1118 N. Mesa
- June 15 – St. Jude; 4006 Hidden Way
- December 6- St. Thomas Aquinas; 10970 Bywood