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Of vandalism and cemeteries.

Hamilton, ON--In the worst desecration of a Catholic religious site since that of Montreal's Mary Queen of the World cathedral by feminist activists in 2000, Bishop Anthony Tonnos Park in Hamilton, ON, was vandalized a few days after its mid-July opening ceremony presided over by the bishop himself. The 24-hectare park, owned by the St. Elizabeth Home Society, was intended as a place of prayer, reflection and peace for residents of the adjoining St. Elizabeth Villa and for members of the public. The nighttime vandals ripped up and destroyed 11 of the 14 Stations of the Cross erected along the main pathway. Sister Maria Szucs of St. Elizabeth Villa described the ceramic pictures of the Stations as invaluable. The work of a Hungarian artist of the 1930s, they had been donated to the society by a Hungarian church in London. She also speculated that the destruction might be classed as a hate-crime.

Hamilton police are, at the moment, treating the destruction as "mischief" apparently it cannot be classified as a "hate-crime" until the perpetrators are caught and their motives ascertained. Meantime, the Society is making plans to rebuild (Catholic Register, Hamilton Spectator July 2003)

St. John, NB--Historic St. Mary's Cemetery in St. John, NB recently suffered vandalism twice (July 19 and Aug. 2, 2003). This summer, 88 headstones were overturned, leaving a damage total of $100,000. Many had been there for 100 to 150 years, as St. Mary's is the final resting place for hundreds of the 19th-century Catholic settlers in New Brunswick (mostly from Ireland).

This incident has caused great upset in the local community. St. John's Police Department indicated on August 21 that they had some suspects and were willing to initiate a "community policing project" to prevent further acts of vandalism. On Tuesday September 3, local military and trade union members joined forces with cemetery staff to restore the headstones to their positions. (New Freeman 5/9/03)
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Title Annotation:Canada
Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Words:322
Previous Article:Death of Bishop Emmett Doyle.
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