SOCORRO, N.M. (KRQE) – The San Miguel Catholic Church keeps its doors open from sunrise to sunset. Most people come to pray but Reverend Andrew Pavlak says lately some people have been coming for other reasons.
“A fair amount of vandalism happens here regularly unfortunately,” said Pavlak.
The glass window to protect the Virgin Mary statue was smashed up over Thanksgiving weekend. Some of its stained glass windows are boarded.
“It’s very upsetting. This is a place we’ve worked hard to be beautiful, be open, be a place where people can come,” said Pavlak.
Vanadalism isn’t the only concern. Reverend Pavlak says this piece from the tabernacle has been swiped before — and people’s belongings have been stolen from the parking lot. Pavlak says someone has also been messing with the candles.
“Someone comes in and lights the candle and leaves it burning, which we can’t have burning,” said Pavlak.
Pavlak isn’t letting the crime get to the church — not only have they added security cameras — they are showing no ill-will towards the crooks.
“We are people that are supposed to be people in “the year of mercy” that the pope has called for, forgiving people. We’re supposed to be understanding,” said Pavlak.
They still let anyone walk in during daylight hours.
“People do want to come here and pray and be quiet, and if we can’t offer that to the people, then there’s a real problem,” said Pavlak.
There’s no guarantee crime won’t happen again but Reverend Pavlak says they won’t let crooks force them to shut their doors.
The church does have surveillance cameras but they didn’t capture the latest incident of vandalism. They say they are working on getting more cameras covering more angles.