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Catholic Church in Weymouth Damaged By Apparent Arson, Authorities Say

August 3, 2020

Police and firefighters are investigating what they suspect was an intentional fire that damaged the entrance of a Catholic church in Weymouth.

Someone apparently set off two Molotov cocktails at the entrance, damaging the front doors of the church, breaking glass, and causing smoke damage inside, the pastor, Father Sean Connor, told Boston 25 News.

The fire at Sacred Heart Church on Washington Street in Weymouth likely occurred sometime between 11 a.m. Sunday, August 2 and 8 a.m. Monday, August 3, according to a written statement from the Weymouth Fire Department.

Sacred Heart, a prominent red brick church originally built in 1882, was almost completely destroyed by a fire in June 2005. It was later rebuilt.

C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, called the suspected arson of this past weekend “a vicious crime and an appalling act of violence targeting a faith community which is still recovering from the trauma and loss of a previous fire.”

He called for a swift response from state authorities.

“This depraved act of arson against a house of worship demands an immediate, forceful and effective response from Governor Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey and Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey,” Doyle said in a written statement. “This is the sixth time this year that a Catholic church or a Catholic institution in the Commonwealth has been the target of arson or vandalism. … These attacks must be stopped. They must be treated as the hate crimes which they are, and the perpetrators must be identified, prosecuted and incarcerated.”

Doyle noted that Catholic churches in the Boston area have been targeted in recent weeks.

On Saturday, July 11, a statue of Mary the mother of Jesus outside St. Peter’s Church in Uphams Corner in Dorchester was scorched after someone set fire to plastic flowers that the arms were holding.

Scorched face of a statue of Mary outside St. Peter’s Church in the Dorchester section of Boston, Massachusetts in July 2020. Image from NBC Boston.

Later that month, a statue of Mary outside St. Teresa of Calcutta (a red brick church formerly known as St. Margaret’s) in Dorchester was vandalized twice.

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