California church vandalized; artifacts damaged

AP News
Posted: May 08, 2012 9:38 AM
California church vandalized; artifacts damaged

Vandals have struck the historic Holy Cross Church in Santa Cruz, Calif., damaging 231-year-old artifacts and scrawling anti-church slogans in what is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

The Roman Catholic Parish of Holy Cross is the home of Mission Santa Cruz founded in 1791. It's the 12th link in the chain of 21 Franciscan missions stretching from San Diego to Sonoma.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports ( ) the widespread damage was discovered Sunday morning.

The damaged items include a baptismal font brought to Holy Cross by the mission-system's founder, Father Junipero Serra.

Windows were shattered by rocks and paint was splashed on doors, walls and statues of Junipero Serra and the Virgin Mary.

Investigators say the vandals even climbed on the roof to spray paint on the church bell tower.