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Gang Taggers Desecrate Sacred Shrine at Holy Family Catholic Church in Artesia

Active Parishioners of Holy Family Artesia gather together to clean up the graffiti that had desecrated the Holy Shrine. Photo by Lupe Sigala.

Active Parishioners of Holy Family Catholic Church Artesia gather together to clean up the graffiti that had desecrated the Holy Shrine. Photo by Lupe Sigala.

By Daniel E. Beckham 

Parishioners of Holy Family Catholic Church in Artesia were distraught on Saturday morning when they found a Holy Shrine covered in graffiti displaying the tags from a local street gang.

Hews Media Group-Community News witnessed the words ‘Mr. [redacted] You’ spray painted in black on the brilliant white statue at around 10:30 a.m.

A long time community member of Artesia told HMG-CN that the tagging is consistent with a known area adolescent graffiti gang.

Holy Family Catholic Church in Artesia has more than 15,000 active parish members.

“I think that although people have their rights, they should know not to damage something as beautiful as the shrine. I think it is wrong and they should really step up to what they did and either pay for the damages or clean it up themselves,” commented active parishioner Isabella Rae Musngi.

The Shrine of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is located at the site of the old marquee in front of the Church. The shrine holds a 7 foot high marble statue of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and was completed in the late summer of last year.

Fr. Raymond Decipeda told HMG-CN, “The shrine was blessed last September 8, 2013. It was Artisan Granite that built the statue for us, a company based out of Rhode Island. When the earlier shrines were built, ethnic groups built them. Our Lady of Fatima by the Portuguese, San Lorenzo by the Filipinos, Our Lady of Guadalupe by the Hispanics. I wanted a shrine that will unite. So I initiated the building of the shrine of Holy Family. I discussed this with the leaders of the organizations and the whole parish.  Everyone was excited. In less than two months, I had the enough money to build, more than $60,000.00.”’

Parishioners Daniel E. Beckham Photo

Parishioners Alyssa Galhano and Travis Avila clean up the graffiti from the Holy Shrine. Daniel E. Beckham Photo

“I chose the statue design the way it would look and a volunteer architect put the design on paper.  A volunteer structural civil engineer did the structural calculations and design.  The city approved it and I finished building it in a month.”

“When it was time to bless, I wanted the laborers who worked on it do the blessing, then the parishioners, then last, the priests.  We didn’t get a Bishop to bless unlike the other shrines which were all blessed by bishops.  This is the people’s shrine so I wanted the people to bless this one.  That is why the hurt was so deep for everyone when it was vandalized.  That is also why that family sprang into action at once to clean the statue.”

A concerned member of the church, Marilou Dimaculangan, told HMG-CN, “If this was done by teenagers, were they under the influence of illicit drugs? Were they doing it to spite the Catholicism as a sentiment or as a result of disappointment with the situation they’re in?”

“This is not just a typical form of vandalism. This is the  highest form of disrespect, not just of property but of religion and beliefs,” said a distraught parishioner Arlene Bangayan-Rodriguez.

Parishioners gathered this morning to clean up the graffiti that had desecrated the Holy Shrine at Holy Family Artesia. Among them were Alyssa Galhano and Travis Avila,  accompanied by family members.

Fr. Raymond commented, “When I first saw the vandalism, I felt deeply saddened, like someone close to me died. I wasn’t angry,  but I just felt so sad. All I thought was, how could one be so brazen? The messages and comments people have left here simply showed how hurt we all are. We pray for those who did this. Hope they don’t discover the Pieta inside.”

“While the vandalism on the Statue of the Holy Family gave us so much sadness, these concerned parishioners just sprang into action to clean up the statue. They truly love our Parish, Holy Family Church. Without any command or instruction, they just did what needs to be done. Thank you to these concerned and devoted parishioners, God Bless You All.”

When the taggers are brought to justice Fr. Raymond commented, “I would like them to do community service hours here with us.  We always get kids mandated by court to do hours.  I will work with them, I will let them eat with us at our table.  I will let them see there are good people.  Most kids leave after feeling grateful that they were treated well.”

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12 Responses to Gang Taggers Desecrate Sacred Shrine at Holy Family Catholic Church in Artesia

  1. Spear of Destiny Reply

    June 16, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Paul Sliwa must be the only person in their right mind among these comments. He’s right! We must pray for these lost souls so God will touch their hearts.

    TO: ‘COUNCIL OF THIEVES, TERESA MARQUEZ, & MCMAHON (the Town NUT). Stop being so biased, do some prayer, maybe join RCIA under the guidance of Rudy the head of the program, and drink some ‘Jesus Juice’.

    You guys are all talking about corruption and posting all of these analytical statements regarding corruption. Why not smell the roses rather than smell your selfish convictions and one-sided comments?

    Rather than be all controversial with your comments like you have been in all of your comments ‘MCMAHON’ go to church and learn to be COMPASSIONATE rather than be “JUDGEMENTAL”.

    and TERESA MARQUEZ, if you don’t like how Holy Family holds themselves then maybe its about time you find another Parish to attend? Something to maybe consider? I can assure you that Church will NEVER turn you away. They will welcome you with open arms and help you as much as possible.

    “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing” Luke 23:34.

    • Council of Thieves Reply

      June 22, 2014 at 3:35 am

      Spear of Destiny, it is fools like you that ignore the problems caused by many elected officials. One can only guess you support the corruption I mentioned.

      Jesus, did not “stop to smell the roses” when he saw the desecration in the temple, he took action and we should follow his example and do the same when our public officials desecrate our city halls.

      And as for forgiveness, do you really understand what that means? Forgiveness, has nothing to do with letting these thugs get away with vandalism and smelling the roses.

      Compassion is for the soul and not the flesh. And to judge McMahon after calling him judgmental is hypocritical on your part.

  2. Teresa Marquez Reply

    June 15, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    I believe a little too much has been claimed for the this. A lack of investigation of the facts are making people run with their imagination; First normally gang or taggers are not into political participation one way or another. This maybe a hate crime for the religion, or just happen to be there for the taking. One of the parishioners stated, ” she allows the working volunteers to eat at their table”! This statement alone, indicate a Church socially devided, and all the statements are address as “I did this” “I got the” I I I, not a parish that works together and refer to themselves and “we the parishioners”, “you as the community volunteers”, this culture is not from the USA, were we all stand together as Americans. This Church may want to reflect on the messages they are sending out. I have attended this Church, and it is beautiful, but I wonder if the people are as such.

    • Dee Bee Reply

      June 16, 2014 at 12:30 am

      One of the parishioners stated, ” she allows the working volunteers to eat at their table”! This statement alone, indicate a Church socially devided, and all the statements are address as “I did this” “I got the” I I I, not a parish that works together and refer to themselves and “we the parishioners”, “you as the community volunteers”, this culture is not from the USA, were we all stand together as Americans.

      It wasn’t one of the parishioners that stated that, it was the Father.

      When the taggers are brought to justice Fr. Raymond commented, “I would like them to do community service hours here with us. We always get kids mandated by court to do hours. I will work with them, I will let them eat with us at our table. I will let them see there are good people. Most kids leave after feeling grateful that they were treated well.”

      There is a divide. People who are breaking the law and people who aren’t. He is clearly saying that he wouldn’t have a divide he would join them in eating and seeing that they are good people, whereas, many others would patronize and put them to work and hard labor to “show their remorse.” He isn’t saying that.. He could have said they will be sent to us and we will make them work it off and pray and confess and whatever else he can think of.

      He didn’t. He said bring them to me we will eat, spend time together, I will work with them, and pretty much make them feel valued, something they may not be getting elsewhere.

      Food for thought.

      • Hope Reply

        June 17, 2014 at 7:51 am

        wonderfully stated Dee, thank you!

      • Council of Thieves Reply

        June 22, 2014 at 4:07 am

        The article reads, >>> When the taggers are brought to justice Fr. Raymond commented, “I would like them to do community service hours here with us. We always get kids mandated by court to do hours. I will work with them, I will let them eat with us at our table. I will let them see there are good people. Most kids leave after feeling grateful that they were treated well.” <<<

        1. Brought to just = held accountable for their action.
        2. Community Service = punished/ work to pay it off.
        3. He did not say he will make them feel valued. He said, "I will let them see there are good people."
        4. He did say, kids mandated by the court (a form of punishment)feel grateful they were treated well. Only the kids can say if they felt valued or just treated well.
        5. He reaches out to show the love of Christ. "I will work with them, I will let them eat with us at our table."

        The divide, if there is one would be the use of the term "good." Maybe the Fr. misspoke. Only the righteousness will inherit the Kingdom of God — not the good. When it comes to Christianity, good is irrelevant and the Fr. would want to let the kids know there are "righteous" people.

    • M c M a h o n Reply

      June 16, 2014 at 9:12 am

      Had many calls over the weekend from surrounding parish clergy and from non- catholic churches. Thanks for all the calls and emails.

      One of the main problems with many churches is lack of good clergy administration, which is diviersified; This church is seriously practicing ……I N Q U I S I T I O N S….

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquisition

      Also, allot of the social issues at this church relates to the….. Order of Priests –Nuns……
      There are some good and bad religious orders in the Archdiocese, THIS CHURCH; order is very distant from Heartland of American Catholic Religions, plus prejudice against other races, sexes and in-house born and bred biases.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philomena_(film)

      This church and many others, is like the City of Bell Politics. The parishioners allow the parish priests, to corral the parishioners in to one called Filipinos ! Bishop must break this up and allow and strive for all races to practice their faith openly, compared to catholic churches across the land. This kind of religious corruption is being fed by parishioners and must stop……………

      Readers, please read the catholic church sub groups in Linkedin.com; allot of stories about the current catholic church in OC/LA Diocese. Free news feeds about local churches philosophy today. Free linkedin.com news feeds on line.

      [email protected]

      Remember, this is our God and we must not allow priests or bishops, to interfere with our rite to practice our faith.

  3. Paul Sliwa Reply

    June 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Need to pray for these people that God will touch their heart and confess to this and receive their dues. Lord have mercy and protect your churches.

  4. Council of Thieves Reply

    June 15, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    When a free society’s loses respect for politicians and the rule of law this is the outcome. We have become a society where each of us is told to do what we “feel” is right. Not what is right, but what we each “feel” is right.

    We watch our political leaders in Bell, Cerritos, and the water district disrespect the People and the rule of law; as such, can we expect the citizenry to do what IS right and respect Religion or personal property?

    • Teresa Marquez Reply

      June 15, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      Thank you for your delivery of words and facts of what we have in political role models, hatred, corruption, illegal activity, highway robberies from our elected. Special interest money electing the worst of the worst. there is a climps of hope for our country, state and LA County, when candidates like Jim McDonnell are elected. I am proud to support him, and proud of the people that have come together to go against lethal corruption in the Sheriff Dept.

  5. M c M a h o n Reply

    June 15, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Just received an email from another perish. Went on to Holy Family web site, there is no links to the following. Instead of spending parishioner’s money on city elections, statues, multi lingual masses, the web site should march to 2014 and reflect media compared to surrounding perishes:

    1. Priests- Nuns Email contacts.
    2. Nothing for last rites.
    3. No Social Media
    4. No Facebook
    5. No Linkedin.com
    6. Nothing about the orders serving the perish.
    7. Nothing for Volunteer Chaplins for Cerritos-Artesia Sheriff.
    8. Nothing for homeless and mothers without homes.
    9. Nothing for forgotten Vets.
    10. Nothing for the unemployed.
    11. Nothing for midnight run-a-way childrens.

    http://holyfamilyartesia.org/jcms/

    Odd, city of Cerritos does not have a catholic church, and the closest catholic cemetery is in Long Beach and no catholic funeral home in the greater former Dairy Valley.

    Web site photo of the clergy would scare even the most orthodox catholics. No diversity being advertised in the clergy photo and the clergy’s attire is not typical attire for national Heartland of America Catholic clergy.

    Remember last year, LCCN advertised Holy Faith Educational system, branding their school. Again no diversity amongst students.

  6. M c M a h o n Reply

    June 14, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Artesia Catholic Church Memo:

    http://holyfamilyartesia.org/jcms/

    Vandalism is worst shameful act to any church. Just horrid story.

    Remember the doctrine of the Catholic Church, Catholic religion is very generic and open arms; GOD never targets (1) race. This church has an ongoing practice supporting the Filipino Catholics, and not the universal Roman Catholics. Also read the bible, Catholic Church states, though shall not worship false gods. Maybe this horrid act, is a castrated gang of such.

    Many Dutch Catholics, Portuguese Catholics were pushed out of this perish, to make room for Filipinos. Also, this church has supported Korean politician running for elected office, which is mixing church and state. This can agitate any and all gangs!!!

    Maybe the graffiti was just part of a larger problem for this Catholic Church. Pastors have driven away a lot of Catholics over time. I know, I have lived in Artesia Cerritos for 40 years, as I know how this Catholic Church has isolated out allot of the older Catholics. Many of my extended family, were neighbors and parishioners to this church, but Kicked out:
    • Ushers
    • Carnival Vendors
    • Elementary Students
    • Educators
    • Funerals
    • Weddings
    • Baptismal
    • Youth Leagues
    • Choirs-singers.
    • Isolation of in house Nuns.
    • Divorcees
    • Gay and Lesbian.
    • Live-in.

    All these sculptures creates major traffic issues for a church –vs- hoods. Churches setting in a residential neighborhood, maybe this parish needs to rethink, as location is in a residential neighborhood, not a business hood for the Catholic Church.

    This church needs to look at our Jesuits and me more open minded and work outside the box. This church, plus other catholic churches, are too orthodox and running 2014 Inquisition, murdering many Catholics via ex communication for divorcees, marrying non catholics, alternative life styles and adoptions.

    Closing thought: Jewish are very close knit relationships, where the catholics dont support their own fellows.

    40 Yr Resident of Cerritos.

    http://www.loscerritosnews.net/2014/06/14/gang-taggers-desecrate-sacred-shrine-at-holy-family-catholic-in-artesia/

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