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Church Communities React With Shock to Vandalism

After "brainwashing" was painted on three Wilmington churches Friday night into Saturday morning, residents have offered strong reaction on social media.

Wilmington residents have reacted strongly after three churches in town were vandalized at some time Friday night into early Saturday morning.

Among the several hundred comments on the Wilmington Patch Facebook page over the weekend was selectman Mike Champoux, who is a member of one of the churches that was vandalized.

"Disgusting," wrote Champoux. "I'm so angry."

According to police, the graffiti was discovered at St. Thomas of Villanova, Wilmington Congregational Church and St. Dorothy's Church at around 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning just as several funerals were about to get underway.

Father Phillip Early told multiple news stations, including WBZ-TV, that the vandals missed the mark with their intended message.

“It angers in the sense that they took that approach to our faith community,” Early said, according to the station. “But it achieves nothing, so in that sense I feel bad that’s the only method they had.”

The majority of the reactions on the Wilmington Patch Facebook page were of anger and shock.

"I can't believe it's really happened in our town," wrote Therese Nguyen.

Nguyen wasn't alone in her sentiment.

"This is just atrocious," posted Kathlene Clancy-Cella. "I'm sad for our community."

Patch blogger Lennie Malvone submitted several photographs of the damage done at St. Thomas, showing stairs, doors, and statues covered in bright red paint. By late in the day on Saturday, graffiti had been covered on the doors of the church while mass went on as scheduled.

Anyone with information on the graffiti is encouraged to contact Wilmington Police Department at (978) 658-5071.

In the comments section of Patch's initial coverage of the story, Malvone shared his own thoughts on the vandalism.

"Hate came to Wilmington tonight," Malvone commented. "It reminds us that bigotry is not dead"

Jennifer Kenney February 03, 2013 at 01:02 PM
What people should be wondering is what is this psychopaths next move. The big picture is that this person is sick and we should be concerned about their family.
Kevin MacDonald February 03, 2013 at 05:04 PM
These vandals are probably in need of having their brains washed- If they have brains.
Darles Charlwin February 03, 2013 at 05:15 PM
I agree. How dare she question the TRUTH! We need to protect our kids from such free thinking radical TRUTH TERRORISTS! I propose fitting the townsfolk with lamp-shade dog collars to encourage conservative views. We should burn science textbooks too.
Nicole Sheridan February 03, 2013 at 07:19 PM
I'm not affiliated with religion, and this makes me sick. This is a place where people find peace, and lay their families to rest. Even though I do not follow a faith, I would never try to push someone down for their beliefs. I have never known these churches to ever try to force their religion onto me. They just give to the community, no matter what your affiliation is. If these people think it is some part of evolution, and a great radical move... Congratulations. All that happened was making a community come together, and I guarantee people are more passionate about their religion than ever.
Lennie Malvone February 03, 2013 at 07:35 PM
The Saddest of this sad affair is that this atrocity was discovered less then 30 min before a family was to gather and take a family member to their final rest . and understand this was way above vandalism this was a crime of hate
Scott Oglesby February 03, 2013 at 10:17 PM
I think it is a pretty interesting thing to do. I know that the first thing to do is to feel defensive, but it also can be rewarding to take a communication for what it is, and to listen and try to understand what the creator of it meant and where they are coming from. It is an attempt to communicate something, do we want to listen or say it isn't worth listening to because the manner which it was done
Scott Oglesby February 03, 2013 at 10:28 PM
It isn't that what I said is the only way to feel, it is just another way to feel about a situation. however you may feel is valid, you know? Words were painted on a place of worship. That is an act that can come from different motives, and in the past there have been instances were the motives were varied. That is a real thing, and this is too.
denise February 03, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Yes...hate crime is right...it is very sad that someone felt they could do this....
Dan Byer February 04, 2013 at 02:04 PM
The fact that somebody went through the trouble to make a stencil for this piece takes it a step above your average idiot kids spray-painting swastikas on the sides of buildings. If it was just a couple dumb ass kids, you could say they didn't know better, but the stencil seems to point to somebody who's graduated from graffiti-for-destruction's-sake to graffiti-for-art's-sake. But you just don't mess with churches! Everybody knows that. This douche must have missed Street Art 101. It doesn't matter what message you're trying to make, it's just going to piss people off and there is no squeakier wheel than a pissed off religious zealot.
Tom February 04, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Scott, I hear what you are saying about trying to understand whatever message that was trying to be conveyed. I am very angry about what was done, however, I think that it is interesting that they choose to use a television and a brain as a symbol of their message. Talk about an oxymoron. Television, one of the most brain dead, brainwashing mediums ever created.
Tom February 04, 2013 at 02:17 PM
The message can and should be discussed. It is what they did to the statue's that angers me.
Tom February 04, 2013 at 02:35 PM
And the fact that the 10'th grade Confirmation kids were there for a retreat all day on Saturday. Yes, I imagine that this would be handled as a hate crime.
Thula February 05, 2013 at 06:53 PM
I'd like to know where are the FBI and ACLU? Hate crimes like this are usually page 1 material. But because it happened in a quiet conservative community to Christian based houses of worship, the incident gets little coverage. I'm really tired of the intolerance and bigotry perpetrated by those who DEMAND tolerance and inclusion of radical non-traditional views.

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