A statue of Jesus was set on fire outside of an eastern Pennsylvania church Sunday morning.
NBC10 reported that the incident happened at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Emmaus, Lehigh County, when Monsignor John S. Mraz, the church’s pastor, noticed the fire as he was getting ready for Mass.
Several people were able to rush outside and use water to extinguish the fire.
"It's probably hooliganism – some young adults letting off steam or something. Because if it was something aimed at the Catholic Church, for defense of traditional marriage, I would think they would have lit the statue of Mary rather than Jesus," Mraz told The Christian Post in a phone interview.
This is not the first time the statues of Jesus and Mary have been attacked, the pastor noted.
"Both statues have been toppled over several times in the past,” he is quoted saying, according to the Post. “The right hand of Jesus has several fingers broken off from one of the topplings. About three years ago, the wall of the church was spray-painted with 666 and other Satanic sayings. There has been nothing that has centered on our parish that I would think would prompt this type of response."
Police say the statue was doused in lighter fluid and set on fire, according to WFMZ.com. The pastor estimated it will cost $2,000 to replace the statue.
It was not immediately clear why the statue was set on fire, and the suspects have not yet been found, officials say.