Diocesan News

Vandal Decapitates Statue of Jesus Outside Queens Church in Early Morning Attack

The statue of the Holy Family has greeted parishioners outside the church for 42 years. (Photo: Courtesy of Holy Family Church)

FRESH MEADOWS — In an act of desecration, a vandal decapitated a statue of Jesus Christ outside Holy Family Church in Fresh Meadows on Sunday, June 30, the pastor confirmed.

Holy Family pastor Father Sean Suckiel said the incident, which took place at around 5:30 a.m. left his parishioners shocked and saddened.

“When they arrived for Mass on Sunday and saw the statue, they were all shocked. They were speechless. And they wondered why would someone do this,” he added.

A security camera captured an image of a driver parking a yellow cab across the street from Holy Family Church, located at 175-20 74th Ave., exiting the vehicle and approaching the statue. The man then decapitated the statue, which depicts Jesus as a child.

“He got out of the car and made a beeline for the statue. So this wasn’t an accident. It was a clear motivation to attack the statue,” said Father Suckiel, who added that the vandal also attacked the statues of Mary and Joseph but did not cause major damage.

Police from the 107th Precinct are investigating the vandalism, which caused an estimated $20,000 in damage to the statue, according to Father Suckiel. They have classified it as a hate crime. The statue’s head was recovered at the scene.

Holy Family’s pastor, Father Sean Suckiel, who said the head of the child Jesus statue was recovered, added that the church will do everything it can to repair the statue. “If we can repair it, we’ll repair it because it’s an important statue to us,” he explained. (Photo: Courtesy of Holy Family Church)

In the Catholic Church, the month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The statue of Jesus, part of a larger statue of the Holy Family, stands alongside depictions of Mary and Joseph and has stood outside the church for 42 years.

“What hurts us the most is that the statue in front of the church is where we take pictures for first Communions, Confirmations, Baptisms, weddings, graduation ceremonies — everything that happens. The statue is really the outside face of Holy Family Church,” Father Suckiel explained. He added that the church is hoping to have the statue repaired.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.

The June 30 incident marked the second time in 15 months that Holy Family Church has been the target of vandals.

On March 23, 2023, teenagers destroyed a statue of an angel outside the church. A surveillance camera showed three teens taking part in the desecration — two of them removing the statue, walking with it a short distance and then smashing it to pieces and the third teen shooting a video of it on a cellphone.

The latest incident comes on the heels of vandalism that took place at another Diocese of Brooklyn church just last month.

A vandal used a hammer to smash statues of St. Teresa of Calcutta and St. Pope John XXIII outside St. Dominic Church in Bensonhurst on June 10. The attacker also smashed the church’s glass entrance doors. A suspect, identified by police as Randy Maldonado Avila, 30, was apprehended at the site and charged with criminal mischief.

2 thoughts on “Vandal Decapitates Statue of Jesus Outside Queens Church in Early Morning Attack

  1. Sadly, this is growing worldwide. If this continues, and I fear it will, we will soon need armed guards to patrol and protect our parish churches. Cameras are not enough. Perhaps the Bishop should encourage parishioners who own guns to come to church armed and ready.