A Catholic church in Sunrise is rethinking what it will be doing for Christmas after a man was caught on camera vandalizing some of its most sacred symbols.
For more than 30 years, people have flocked to Saint Bernard Catholic Church. When its door were closed, some would stand outside and pray in front of statues placed outside the building.
However, early last Saturday morning, one man took that away from them.
Surveillance footage from the church shows the man carrying a large rock and throwing it at a statue of Jesus, knocking it down. Seventeen minutes later, the man returns and lights the ground on fire.
According to Rev. Jorge Rodriguez de la Viuda, a statue of Mary and Saint Francis were also destroyed.
The pastor said he was concerned the fire could have damaged the parish center, where years ago parishioner Ann-Louise Son attended Sunday school.
One lesson she learned well: forgiveness.
"I feel bad for the guy, but as the priest said we pray for him and everything. But it’s crazy like he literally set it on fire," Son said.
The pastor is left wondering if hate is targeting their faith.
"It’s happening all over the world and it’s happening here in our community and we are very, very frightened," he said. "We were planning to put on our Christmas decorations and nativity scene. Now we are having second thoughts."
Sunrise Police said they are investigating the incident, but could not provide any further information.