In an act of pure evil that has left hundreds of parishioners heartbroken, a beloved decades-old statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary has vanished from St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The theft of this cherished five-foot statue, which had warmly greeted churchgoers for years, occurred back in August. It was reported when a church member witnessed a vehicle performing donuts in the church’s parking lot.
Now, all that remains in place of the statue is a simple wire outline, a poignant reminder of its absence. The church promptly filed a police report in the hope of recovering the stolen statue, but the initial response from law enforcement offered limited prospects for its return, according to KRQE News 13.
St. Anne’s Associate Pastor Benjamin Maes expressed the church’s frustration, saying, “The police came, and there was a report filed at that time; there was really nothing they could do, they said, but to ask around and to ask our community.” However, the incident did lead to an increased police presence in the area.
The statue of the Virgin Mary held great sentimental value for the congregation and was created by artist Felix Pedroncelli in 1999, fashioned from metal and fiber cement. It had graced the church’s front steps since its creation. Pedroncelli, who had earlier crafted a similar smaller statue for another part of the church, is deeply saddened by the theft but has pledged to create a new statue if the church requires one.
Pedroncelli shared his sentiments, saying, “Whatever I make, I donate them to people; It’s just my joy seeing somebody happy.” He hopes that the stolen statue can be returned, sparing him from having to create a new one. However, if it has been damaged or destroyed, he stands ready to repair and reinstall it for the church and its faithful congregation.
This unfortunate incident serves as a reminder of the challenges facing communities, including instances of theft and vandalism, and underscores the need for vigilance and community support. Albuquerque, in particular, has faced high crime rates under Democrat city and state leadership, with concerns about public safety remaining at the forefront of local discussions.
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