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Union City Catholic Church Vandalized On Ash Wednesday

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Saint Anne's Catholic Church in Union City was vandalized on February 22, 2012. (CBS)

Saint Anne’s Catholic Church in Union City was vandalized on February 22, 2012. (CBS)

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UNION CITY (CBS 5) — Parishioners at a Catholic church in Union City were disturbed to find their church vandalized with satanic symbols on Ash Wednesday.

According to church members and police, the vandalism took place at Saint Anne’s Catholic Church sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. A cross was knocked down and statues of Joseph and Mary were vandalized with spray paint. Walls were also defaced with graffiti, with one message that said “seize the night” in Latin.

“Well, it hurts me and it is very disturbing,” said the Rev. Geoffrey Baraan of Saint Anne’s.

“There’s still a lot of anger, a lot of hatred, a lot of ignorance and arrogance out there,” Baraan added. “And we have also lost the word ‘respect.’”

The vandalism occurred as Christians observed Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. The 40-day season of fasting, prayer and charity concludes with the celebration of Easter.

“Sad,” said Breana Marroquin, who was attending Mass at the church on Wednesday. “It does not make me happy, it makes me really sad.”

saint annes vandalism 022212 01 Union City Catholic Church Vandalized On Ash Wednesday

A statue of Joseph and Mary was vandalized at Saint Anne's Catholic Church in Union City on February 22, 2012. (CBS)

The vandalism was discovered by Peter Petit, who arrived early Wednesday morning to assist with a Mass.

“Emotionally very disturbing and appalling being that this is a day of repentance,” Petit said.

Baraan had a message for those responsible for the damage.

“I pray for them,” Baraan said. “I hope that they will have a change of heart.”

Police have not named suspects in the case, which has been classified as a hate crime.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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