Grave of recently canonised US saint vandalised

Washington, Sep 28 (IANS) The grave of Father Junípero Serra at California’s Carmel Mission was vandalised days after Pope Francis proclaimed him a saint during his recent US visit, the media reported on Monday.

On Sunday morning the graves of the cemetery, in which the remains of the recently canonised missionary are buried, as also the facade of the basilica itself, were found splashed with paint, EFE news reported.

The attackers had pulled down statues and one of the damaged headstones of the graves read “Saint of Genocide”.

Junipero Serra, the first Hispanic saint from the US, was canonised by Pope Francis on September 23 during a ceremony in Washington.

The Pope said the Spanish friar defended the dignity of indigenous people he evangelised.

Sgt. Luke Powell of the Carmel police said the incident is being investigated as a “hate crime”.

The police is examining video footage from the security cameras installed in the premises to try to identify those involved in the attack.

Owing to the vandalism, the mission management called off a ceremony related to canonisation, planned for the day.

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