Vandalism at Livonia church properties investigated

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Authorities are investigating vandalism reported at two church properties in Livonia last weekend.

Archdiocese of Detroit officials believe the suspects struck St. Colette Catholic Church and the Felician Franciscan Sisters motherhouse, which are about two miles apart near Newburgh Road, sometime between late Friday night and early Saturday morning.

“In both cases, the vandals left some rather ugly, obtuse messaging about the Church, the Vatican, and idolatry,” Ned McGrath, the archdiocese’s communications director, said in a statement. “As we have recommended to our parishes, schools, and institutions in the past, regular security audits of your buildings — inside and out— should be a priority.”

Officials on Monday released photos of the defacing at both sites.

At St. Colette, the culprits appeared to use bright red spray paint to scrawl “Rome Will Fall” across a set of doors as well as cover a cross-bearing female statue’s face and body.

Similarly, the sidewalk at the Felician Franciscan Sisters site also was spray-painted in several spots with messages such as “Pope is false prophet” and “Jesus is coming.”

“We’ve alerted all our parishes in the area so that they can be extra vigilant,” said Joe Kohn, a spokesman for the archdiocese. “It’s unfortunate, it’s a shame and it’s a crime. It’s sad to see something like this. We just hope we can learn more and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Police are continuing to probe the incidents.

Anyone with tips or information is asked to call the Livonia Police Department at (734) 466-2400.