UPDATE: Person of interest arrested after Neillsville church vandalized

Published: Mar. 1, 2019 at 4:51 PM CST
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Neillsville Police have been following up on leads and officers have arrested a person of interest in the vandalism complaint. The identity of the person arrested will not be made public at this time.

Police Chief, Scott Klueckmann is asking for patience and continued prayers as they continue to investigate the case.

Statement from Father Varkey V. Joseph, Pastor St. Mary Parish Neillsville:

Last night St. Mary Parish Church in Neillsville was vandalized. The damage, which was discovered this morning, was limited to the interior of the church. Most of the statuary was destroyed. The police were called immediately and are continuing their investigation. No one was injured. Heartfelt thanks go out to all who helped during this incident. The work of the law enforcement and the many others who came to help with the cleanup is greatly appreciated. We are saddened that our church was desecrated and the sanctuary was violated. Crimes committed in a church affect and do injury to the entire Christian community, which the church building in a sense symbolizes and represents. St. Mary’s is a house of prayer and we ask people to pray for the perpetrators so that the Lord may give them the grace for conversion.

The Knights of Columbus will be leading the Rosary and other prayers tonight in the church at 6 pm. We invite all to come and join in this communal prayer.

Reparation for the desecration of a church is to be carried out with a Penitential Rite celebrated as soon as possible. All the faithful are invited to participate in reparation for the desecration done to our church. Bishop William Patrick Callahan will lead our community in the Saturday Vigil Mass at 5 pm to perform this Penitential Rite and celebrate Mass.