Med student disrupts Palm Sunday celebrations, destroys church statues
Palm Sunday is the final day of Lent and marks the start of the Holy Week for Christians observing the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Easter).
Holy Week commemorates the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem amongst a frenzied crowd, days before he was crucified.
Yesterday, parishioners flocked to the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception for the programme.
However, during the celebration led by Msgr Christian Pereira - Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception - a medical student entered the church and used two dumbells to desecrate the St Paul statue and crucifix.
In a statement detailing the account, Pereira said the act was carried out by a regular attendee.
"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," he said.
Pereira said the young man was subdued by an attendee employed by the SWAT Estate Police, however, the damage was "well advanced". Following the incident, the student was taken to the Besson Street Police Station to be handed over to 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," he stated.
Pereira said the cost of repair and replacement will fall into the hands of worshipers who continue to be faithful.
He added that the church will not be pressing charges against the student.
"The mother has more important responsibilities than finding money to compensate the church."
Pereira added that the damage was "considerable" as it threatened Good Friday celebrations.
Good Friday marks the day Jesus Christ was crucified.
"The crucifix is the one usually used in our Good Friday Liturgy".
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