Statue vandalized at South Philly church

May 17, 2009 3:42:31 PM PDT
A toppled statue at a church in Philadelphia has become the center of a criminal investigation. The statue of St. Rita has stood on the 1100 block of Broad for nearly 60 years.

But she stands no more.

Early Saturday morning, she was found toppled over; her hands and face badly damaged.

"That's our patron saint, and that means a lot to the church. People pray to that everyday," parishioner Joe E'Emilio.

Even more troubling, parishioners are in the middle of their novena, adevotion consisting of 9 days of prayer.

"They took it kind of personal; they're very devoted to St. Rita," Father Joe Genito of Chuch of St. Rita of Cascia said.

"In 55 years, I've been coming here it was always here, and I pass by and say hello St. Rita; I always did," parishioner Mary Collaretti said.

She is the patron saint of impossible cases.

But Parishioners are hoping police can crack this case and catch whoever is responsible for damaging the statue.

"To see someone destroy the statue, what good is it?" parishioner Elaine Malseed asked.

The church says it will have the statue either repaired or replaced.

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