Statue outside Polish Catholic Church in Edmonton vandalized with red paint – .

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Statue outside Polish Catholic Church in Edmonton vandalized with red paint – .


EDMONTON – A statue outside a church in north-central Edmonton was vandalized on Saturday night.

The statue of Pope John Paul II outside the Holy Rosary Catholic Church at 11485 106 Street in Edmonton was covered in red paint and red handprints.

Red footprints were visible around the statue and on the steps leading to the main entrance to the church. Teddy bears and other stuffed animals have been placed at the base of the statue.

The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) said the incident occurred around 11:10 p.m. Saturday night when a woman was seen vandalizing the statue with paint.

The EPS says the Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit has been notified of the incident, but the investigation will remain at the Northwest Division until the Hate Crimes Unit has had time to properly assess the incident.

Police said no further details were available from them as they continued their investigation.

“WE ARE ATTRIBUTED BY VANDALISM”

In an interview with CTV News Edmonton, Andrzej Makarewich of the Canadian Polish Congress Alberta Society said the church was shocked to see the statue of St. John Paul II vandalized.

“We are looking at cameras, security cameras and found out that this young lady came here at 11:10 pm and spent about 10 minutes damaging our monument,” Makarewich said.

He described the incident as a “stab” to the heart of the Polish community.

“Someone who has done this knows how to hurt our community because John Paul II is a saint,” he added.

Makarewich said while the statue was vandalized, security footage shows cars driving past the church.

“At least two cars saw this incident and did nothing,” he shared. “It’s not the Edmonton I know. “

CTV News Edmonton did not see the security footage.

“We are saddened by the vandalism of the statue of Saint John Paul II at Holy Rosary Parish,” Archbishop Richard Smith of the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton said in a statement.

“At a time when our country is deeply aware of the need to reconcile with the indigenous peoples of this land, it is useful to recall the words with which Pope John Paul II, during his visit to Fort Simpson in 1987, strongly affirmed the inherent goodness of Aboriginal culture and traditions and expressed its solidarity with the First Nations, Métis and Innu for the defense of their rights: “my coming among you comes back to your past to proclaim your dignity and support your destiny.

Smith added that he echoed those words.

“The Church advocates the equal human dignity of all peoples and defends their right to preserve their own cultural character with its distinct traditions and customs,” said the Archbishop.

“The parishioners of Holy Rosary Parish and the people of the Archdiocese of Edmonton stand with the Aboriginal peoples at this time of deep sorrow. With them, we mourn the sad legacy of residential schools and look forward to the healing of our relationship.

Pope John Paul II, born in Wadowice, Poland, was the first non-Italian pope since 16e century and the second longest serving head of the Catholic Church in modern history. He has visited Canada three times.

Holy Rosary Church, a Polish and English parish, has priests who are members of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate operated 48 schools, including Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia and Marieval Indian Residential School in Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan.

Other churches across Canada have been vandalized, including St. Paul’s Co-Cathedral in Saskatoon.

At least four churches in British Columbia on First Nations reserve land have been burnt down.

The incidents occurred after Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc announced that it had discovered the remains of 215 children in unmarked graves at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

On Thursday, the Cowessess First Nation announced that it has also located 751 unmarked graves near the site of a former residential school in Saskatchewan.

Authorities have not announced any official indication that the fires or acts of vandalism are linked to the findings at the residential schools.

Marlene Poitras, Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Alberta, said in an interview that First Nations communities are not the only ones affected by the discovery of anonymous graves and that there are ways more productive to move forward.

“It’s really unfortunate,” said Poitras. “We don’t want to lose that (community) support by doing this stuff.

“Let’s work together in the right direction,” she added. “I think it’s critical right now. “

If you are a former residential school student in distress or have been affected by the residential school system and need assistance, you can contact the 24 hour residential schools crisis line: 1-866-925- 4419

Additional Aboriginal mental health support and resources are available here.

With files from CTV News Vancouver

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