Vandalism at St. Joseph's under investigation

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Fr. Michael Shershanovich, pastor at the North Street church, told The Eagle last night that someone destroyed the decades-old statue behind the convent sometime after Thursday night.

"The mailman came at around 11 Friday morning and asked "Where's Mary?" Shershanovich said. "They knocked it off the base and smashed it with a street sign."

Pittsfield Police visited the church on Friday and took fingerprints. A toppled street sign was left at the scene. Police said the crime is still being investigated.

Shershanovich said several black marks had been spray painted on the statue and on the church in the weeks leading up to the desecration, including a pentagram, a five-pointed star synonymous with witchcraft.

"This is just a real disappointment," Shershanovich said. "It's a statue that's been in the parish for so long. A shrine for so many people, a place of solace, a little oasis."

Whether night or day, it was common to see people kneel beside the Virgin Mary statue and pray. Shershanovich said plans are being made to bury the remains of the statue in St. Joseph's cemetery.

If anyone has information on the destruction of the statue, they urged to call Pittsfield Police at (413) 448-9723.

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