Religious Statue Beheaded

Published by Chris Wangler- May 5, 2021.

A statue of Jesus Christ was apparently decapitated and had a hand removed this weekend at St. Charles Borromeo Church near Gilmore Playground.
“If it was a sacrilegious act, we want it investigated,” said Father Michael Nolan, who suspects vandalism and filed a police report.
In this 2017 file photo, Father Michael Nolan speaks at a Latino workshop at Waltham High School.
 
Waltham Police are investigating the incident, but there’s no video currently.
The head and hand were discovered at the base of the statue on Sunday evening, Nolan said. It’s unclear when they were removed or how.
 
He described the incident as “really sad and disturbing” in a message to his parishioners this week.
In search of answers, the community-oriented priest went door-to-door and learned that some youths were near the statue on Saturday night. It’s unknown if they were involved or saw anything.
The statue is smaller than life-size and depicts the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As Christ points to his heart, it serves as a reminder of his “merciful and compassionate heart,” Nolan said.
The statue’s subject traces its origins to a French nun who saw the image in a vision.
The damage appears intentional, but other explanations are possible, such as the statue being toppled, accidentally or otherwise. “It’s not that heavy,” Nolan said.
“If something was done unintentionally, there is still a responsibility to let the church know what happened,” he said.
The statue stands beside the historic St. Charles Borromeo Church on Hall Street.
 
He added that the severed hand had been glued back on previously. He’s making inquiries about having the statue repaired.
At least 67 attacks on Catholic churches, including statue beheadings, have been reported over the last year across the country, he explained.
Here in Massachusetts, various Christian statues have been decapitated in the area over the last five years, with some having hands removed as well. “It’s not an isolated incident,” Father Nolan said.
He doesn’t want to press charges, but rather determine the intention and then offer forgiveness and help. “We’re not looking for prosecution,” he said.
Photos in composite image: Fr. Fernando Vivas
Father Nolan 2017 photo