Diocesan News

Lower Manhattan Church Vandalized In Latest Series of Attacks

Our Lady of Rosary Catholic Church, which houses the shrine to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, in lower Manhattan was vandalized on Saturday, July 15. (Photo: St. Peter’s Church and Our Lady of Victory)

by The Tablet Staff

For the second time in as many weekends there was an attack against a Catholic church in New York City

On Saturday, Walter Chisolm, 42, allegedly broke into Our Lady of Rosary Catholic Church through a window and entered its shrine to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, where he damaged a large crucifix, according to an NYPD spokesperson.

Chisolm, who was wearing a purple priestly vestment robe and no pants, was arrested for vandalizing the Manhattan shrine to the first American Catholic saint.

“This is my house,” the man was reportedly heard muttering to staffers as he chased them out of the building. He was then found pacing outside on the church’s steps while in the robe and holding a bottle of wine and a statue of the Virgin Mary, NYPD said.

He attacked a responding officer, striking him in the face, causing minor injuries, according to the NYPD.

An eyewitness who helped police subdue Chisolm said the perpetrator “was very aggressive,” according to Raji Mohamado.

Mohamado told Currents News that when Chisolm exited the Church he and another man helped NYPD officers in making the arrest. 

Chisolm was charged with assault on a police officer, burglary, criminal mischief, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration, cops said. It was not immediately clear if the suspect was taken to jail or for a mental-health evaluation, NYPD spokesperson said.

This incident follows two other events within the Diocese of Brooklyn last weekend.

Jonathan Bulik, 37, was arrested July 8 for spray painting a statue of Mary at Resurrection Parish in Gerritsen Beach.

Another arrest was made on July 8, at St. Joseph Church in Astoria, when a 21-year-old perpetrator returned to the church after terrorizing parishioners last month.

The assailant had entered the church sacristy on June 6 and began hitting himself in the head with a monstrance used to display the Blessed Sacrament.

The man was bleeding on the monstrance and priestly vestments he donned while in the sacristy.

Officials believe he also broke into the tabernacle and removed the consecrated Eucharist stored inside and threw it on the ground.