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DENVER (KDVR) — Denver’s Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception was vandalized overnight with messages and symbols of hate.

Parishioners, clergy and passersby were appalled by the display. Volunteers helped clean the sacred building and remove the expressions of antipathy.

The Archdiocese of Denver sent FOX31 this statement:

“It continues to be troubling to see the increased reports of vandalism at Catholic churches, both across the county and in our archdiocese, and it is certainly unfortunate when our parishes are targeted simply because of our beliefs. 

Since February 2020, the Archdiocese of Denver is aware of at least 25 parishes or ministry locations that have been the target of vandalism, property destruction, or theft. This has included broken windows, damaged and defaced statues, graffiti, attempted arson, vehicle damage, stolen religious items, and other break-ins and thefts. More than 10 incidents have occurred in the last six months.

Some of the incidents have been clearly targeted at the Catholic Church, but not all of them. The number could be higher because some minor incidents are not always reported.

We continue to pray for the conversion of those who carry out acts of desecration against our churches, statues, and religious symbols.”

Reverend Samuel Morehead is the director of the cathedral. He said his staff alerted him to the vandalism after they arrived to prepare for Sunday mass.

“Of course, it’s a Sunday morning so we’re preparing for multiple masses down here and hundreds of people coming to the cathedral. At the very least it’s a big distraction. At worse, a horrible discouragement to our people and our greater community,” Morehead said.

Dave Murray was visiting the cathedral from Sacramento when he came upon the vandalism.

“This isn’t random, this isn’t generic, this isn’t secular. This is definitely attempting to offend the faith,” Murray said.

Denver police have not released information on a suspect but did confirm a witness called in the incident. Investigators will look into whether this was a bias-motivated crime.

This incident is the latest in a number of church defamations just in the past month. Two weeks ago, a Catholic Church in Boulder was vandalized with pro-abortion messages and anarchist symbols on the church building, signs and a truck in the parking lot. The Holy Eucharist was stolen from a church in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood around three weeks ago. And about a month ago, abortion-related graffiti was painted on the doors, garden sign, church sign and walls of St. Louis Catholic Church in Louisville.