An off-duty security guard sprung into action on Sunday and detained a medical student who had just damaged the statue of St Paul and desecrated the crucifix at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Independence Square, Port-of-Spain.
That statue was supposed to be used on Good Friday – the start of Easter celebrations.
Sunday marked the start of Holy Week. It begins with Palm Sunday which commemorates Jesus Christ’s triumphant arrival in Jerusalem to the cheers of the crowd.
Monsignor Christian Pereira led the Palm Sunday mass at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at Independence Square, Port-of-Spain, on Sunday morning.
He later issued a press release on what happened.
“During the 6.30 a.m. celebration of Palm Sunday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception one member of the congregation who is a medical student walked into the church with a knapsack containing a pair of dumbbells.
“As the congregation gathered in the forecourt for the Blessing of the Palms and the procession this gentleman proceeded to destroy the Statue of St Paul and the crucifix. The damage was well advanced before one of the regular worshipers an officer with S W A T (also a regular member of the congregation), was able to suppress him and hold him until the police could come to take him to the Besson Street Station.
“His mother was contacted, and the police had intended to release him into the care of his mother.
“Even though the reality is that a crime had been committed against the Church and the desecration of sacred items there is a deeper issue than that of criminal activity.
“The cost of repair and replacement will be have to borne by the worshipers who continue to be faithful. The mother has more important responsibilities than finding money to compensate the church.
“I am awaiting word from the Station as to the developments. The damage is considerable. The crucifix is the one usually used in our Good Friday Liturgy.”
The suspect is being held by police and charges are expected.