New York City

Video Shows Man Desecrating Altar During Sunday Morning Mass in Brooklyn

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What to Know

  • A 33-year-old man is under arrest after video appears to show him desecrating the altar of a New York City Catholic church during a Sunday morning mass, according to the Diocese of Brooklyn
  • The incident, captured on surveillance video, occurred during the 9:30 a.m. mass this past weekend at the St. Anthony of Padua in Greenpoint
  • Video shows the man walking up to the altar, pours juice all over it and the priest presiding over the mass, Rev. Jossy Vattothu.

A 33-year-old man is under arrest after video appears to show him desecrating the altar of a New York City Catholic church during a Sunday morning mass, according to the Diocese of Brooklyn.

The incident, captured on surveillance video, occurred during the 9:30 a.m. mass this past weekend at the St. Anthony of Padua in the Greenpoint of Brooklyn.

Video shows the man walking up to the altar, then pour juice all over it as well as the priest presiding over the mass, Rev. Jossy Vattothu.

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“During my years as a priest, nothing like this has ever happened. At first, as he approached the altar, I thought he had something to tell me. It is a miracle that the bread and wine were not damaged, and I was able to continue the Mass, consecrating the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ,” Vattothu said in a statement.

He tells News 4 that some attending mass "started to cry" following the shocking incident.

However, parishioners jumped into action, surrounding and blocking the man until police arrived.

Monsignor Anthony Hernandez, Chancellor of the Diocese of Brooklyn, said the incident has left people frightened.

“It’s really egregious that somebody would do that at the most sacred part of the Catholic Mass, which is the consecration. I think right now, people are scared given the current environment of anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic incidents. People are afraid to go to their house of worship,” Hernandez said in a statement.

When police looked back at the church's surveillance video, they saw the man walking into the church and kneel, as if praying.

Vattothu tells News 4 that although he was scared, he forgives the man.

The man's identity has not been released. It's unclear what charge or charges the man could face. However, police do say he is currently at a hospital receiving a psychological evaluation.

Parishioners can also expect to see more police outside the church, according to the NYPD.

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