Warning: Extremely vulgar language in images below
The bishop of the Winona-Rochester Diocese expressed his outrage Wednesday after several graves at a Catholic cemetery were desecrated with “hateful and obscene graffiti.”
Calvary Cemetery in Rochester was vandalized on Halloween night, Bishop Robert Barron said in a statement.
Friends, please see my full statement regarding the act of vandalism that occurred at Calvary Cemetery here in the Diocese of Winona-Rochester: pic.twitter.com/CdW6PXUQRv
— Bishop Robert Barron (@BishopBarron) November 2, 2022
Images posted online and in the media show graves and the columbarium were spray-painted with blasphemous and satanic messages.
“In Satan we trust,” said some of the graffiti. A photo published by KTTC shows a statue of Jesus and a cross were also vandalized.
“On this feast of All Souls, when the Church honors our beloved dead, I would like to express my outrage at this desecration and my assurance of prayers for the families of those whose final resting places were so dishonored,” Barron said.
He said the diocese will work with Rochester police to bring those responsible to justice.
“Cemetery staff is working diligently to repair the damage and restore the grounds, and once their task is completed, I pledge to bless and re-consecrate this sacred space,” he said. “May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.”
According to the cemetery’s website, over 10,000 people are buried at the cemetery, including many priests and sisters.
“The important thing is not the cost, but getting it cleaned up and back to normal for our families as soon as possible. I think our whole Catholic community is heartbroken by it,” the cemetery director told ABC 6 News.