A crazed man waltzed into a Queens church and destroyed a framed photo of Pope Francis — before spreading paint thinner on the basement floor and dressing up in a priest’s robe, the diocese said Wednesday.
Father Vincent Chirichella, pastor of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Astoria, said he was praying for the 21-year-old man and forgave him for the “egregious” vandalism that took place Monday, the Diocese of Brooklyn said in a statement.
The disturbed man walked through an open door of the church at around 8 p.m. and went into the rectory, where he destroyed framed photos of the pope and of Brooklyn Bishop Robert Brennan, the statement said.
He then headed to the basement, where he spread paint thinner all over the floor, before going back up the stairs to the chapel sacristy and putting on a priest’s robe.
A parish priest walked in as the man picked up a religious item — known as a monstrance — and repeatedly smashed himself in the head with it, leaving a bloody trail on the priestly clothing and the vessel.
For his final “egregious act of religious desecration,” the deranged man ran through the main sanctuary, where he opened the Tabernacle and threw the “consecrated hosts onto the floor,” according to the diocese.
An NYPD spokesperson said cops received a 911 call about a man breaking things and trying to hurt himself inside the church Monday.
EMS responders took him to Elmhurst General Hospital for evaluation, police said.
The bishop will re-consecrate the church Friday at noon before mass can resume, a diocese spokesperson said.
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