Newspaper Archive of
The Message
Evansville, Indiana
June 28, 1991     The Message
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June 28, 1991

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n00it. John, Newburgh, is most recent target of vandals By PAUL R. LEINGANG Message Editor symbols and including the word elled backwards cleaned up or coy- at St. Church, New- lrgh. vandalism was early Thursday June 2 0, by a custo- It is the third Catholic in southwestern Indi- te suffer damage this following paint damage Good Shepherd Church from page 1 is group is not having time to discuss all of exciting ideas. We keep out of time." mration Brainstorm com- members include: Jones, Carol Padgett, one Hunter, Christ the Evansville; atie Schwenk, Corpus School, Evansville; Van Hoosier, Lynn Good Shepherd Evansville; Colavecchia, Bob ',ig, Holy Rosary School, Farrell, Holy Spirit 1ool, Evansville; :sy Bender, Judy er, Resurrection lool. Evansville; . )Onna Halverson, Teresa St. Benedict lool, Evansville; Couture, St. Joseph Vanderburgh County; gobbi Lovell, St. Theresa Evansville; Ann Cutrell, Merrilee Laurie Schopmeyer, 0ana McGinness, Westside tholic Consolidated and fire damage at St. Bene- dict Church, both in Evans- ville, within the past three months. Father Joseph Ziliak, pastor of the parish in Newburgh, said a Mass of Reparation was offered in the church on the morning the vandalism was discovered. Father Ziliak said words and symbols were painted on the wails of the church, in the hallways and on doors. Clean-up was complicated by the various building surfaces affected, including brick, Schools, Evansville; Diedra Schleicher, Flaget Elementary School, Vin- cennes; Karen Georges, Holy Cross School, Fort Branch; Stella Bennett, Sister Mary Leon Kiesel, Holy Family Schoot, Jasper; Sister Tess Duenas, Martha Render, St. James School, St. James; Jan Robak, Dr. Charlotte Bennett, St. John the Baptist School, Newburgh; Angie Walden, St. Joseph School, Princeton; Norma Feldhaus, St. Matthew School, Mount Ver- non; Mary Alice McDonald, Sts. Peter and Paul School, Haub- stadt; Shirley Clements, St. Philip School, St. Philip; Ann Friedman, Mary Kay Elpers, Jane Herr, St. Wendel School, St. Wendel; Jayne Hobgood, Mater Dei High School, Evansville; Mary Traylor, Rivet High School, Vincennes; Gerry Adams, Memorial High School, Evansville. gh church adds ; evening Mass John Church, New- will add a Sunday ng Mass to the parish as a result of a re- decision by the parish. 5:30 p.m. Mass was on a trial basis, April The decision to continue Mass was recommended the parish council execu- committee for several 'aSons, according to Father Ziliak, pastor. The rea- rs include attendance, and cast. to date has from 95 to 180, said Ziliak. About 120 to eople typically attend Mass is part of the uni- ed weekend liturgy, with the same homily as other Masses. Lectors, servers, ush- ers, and other ministers come from the people who assem- ble for the 5:30 p.m. Mass. Father Ziliak said another important consideration was the fact that the Mass was a prayerful celebration and not just a Sunday obligation con- venience. The extra evening Mass is an extension of the parish ministry to the entire parish family, he said. He said keeping the church building open costs about $400 or $500, when heating, cooling and custodial needs are taken into account. That additional cost is expected to come from the parish collection. wood, glass, painted concrete block and metal. Whoever entered the build- ing came in through a boiler room door. The vandal or vandals pried away a portion of the door which was de- signed to allow ventilation of the boiler room, said Father Ziliak. The design of the door is a requirement of the build- ing code, according to the church pastor. He said that once the vanes were pried away, some one could reach far enough inside to reach the inside door knob, unlock the door, and gain entry. No other damage was re- ported to the combination church and school building. The top of the tabernacle had been removed and was found on an altar, but the tabernacle was not opened. The taberna- cle is the decorated recepta- cle in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. Newburgh Police Chief Dennis Patton described what he found as Satanic symbols, which included an inverted pitchfork and a pentagram. Chief Patton said he contact- ed Indiana State Police and Evansville Police to assist in the investigation. An Evans- ville officer who specializes in this type of crime is cur- rently analyzing the symbols, according to Chief Patton. Kelsha Construction Com- pany of Evansville was hired to clean up the building im- mediately after photographs were taken during the initial police investigation, and be- fore the paint could soak more deeply into the porous building materials of the church. Father Ziliak noted with a sense of irony that he had preached about evil less than two weeks before the inci- dent. He had told the congre- gation at that time that "senseless violence is as pure a form of evil as anything." Senseless violence is what he called the painted damage to the parish building. He said he believed the graffiti might be the signature of a gang or some one imitating a gang, not necessarily the work of some one involved in satanic ritual and activity. Words and symbols similar to what was spray-painted in Newburgh were found on the back of the school building at Good Shepherd Church, Evansville, about two months ago. That damage has been cleaned up, according to Dea- con Ed Wilkerson, pastoral associate at Good Shepherd. Vandalism two months ago at St. Benedict Church in Evansville, which involved the setting of numerous small fires, continues to have its impact. Doors of the church building are now locked at all times except during Masses and other scheduled services. Father Camillus Ellsper- mann, parish pastor, said he deeply regrets the fact that the doors are locked. "It is a serious inconvenience for people who love to visit the church," he said. The first fires had been set at St. Benedict Church late in the afternoon of April 23. Burned matches, candles and partially burned church bul- letins were found at several locations in the sanctuary in the pulpit, the baptismal font and a Marian shrine. Car- peting, an altar cloth and a cloth at the tabernacle were damaged by fire. Police investigating the in- cident told him it was proba- bly done by someone of grade school age, according to Fa- ther Ellspermann. Only one set of footprints was found in the burned debris, indicating only one person is believed responsible. Three days after the first fire damage was discovered, a burnt book of matches was discovered in a chair. That is when the decision was made to lock the doors, The inci- dent has not been resolved, according to Father Ellsper- mann. A spray-painted symbol nearly covers a door, above, at St. John Church, Newburgh. Another symbol was painted on a wall, below. The vandalism, discovered last week, was cleaned up on the same day it was discovered. Police officers from Newburgh, Evansville and the Indiana State Police are investigating the incident. Message photos by Phil Boger "Funeral Pr00Planning Since 1940" Miller & Miller Dubois County Bank YOUR FIVE STAR SERVICE. BANK .........