Community Offers Support to St. Joseph’s in Wake of Hate Messages

79f845b6c63fb0f50aa0ee2e29842abb.jpgBy Jen Anesi
Police are still looking for those responsible for leaving hateful remarks on the side of St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church Thursday morning.
Members of the Troy community and beyond are reaching out parishoners of St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church and offering moral support after vandals left a hateful message on the side of the church Thursday morning.

“We got some people from within the diocese and outside the diocese that offered our support, and we’re grateful for that,” Father Rudy Zoma said. “The church is functioning as normal.”

The messages, which read “(Expletive) you” and “U R dead,” were discovered by parishoners arriving for mass Thursday morning. The messages were removed by a cleaning crew soon after they were discovered, though police are still investigating the incident.

“The City of Troy will not tolerate any ‘hate’ crimes,” department spokesperson Officer Andy Breidenich said, “and will investigate any leads to discover and prosecute those displaying such hatred in a criminal manner.”

Zoma said he and church members are pressing forward and choosing not to let the actions of the vandals affect them.

“We’ve been here for over 30 years,” Zoma said, “and it was always our mission that we encourage the Chaldean community, especially recent immigrants, to be positive elements in the society by helping the society to always get better, be more advanced.”

Rev. Bob Cornwall, pastor of Central Woodward Christian Church, offered support to the parish and compared the vandalism to a similar incident on Feb. 6 at a Sikh Gurdwara in Sterling Heights, where vandals spray painted similar messages on the side of the Gurdwara – a holy place of worship for people of the Sikh religion.

“To the members of St. Joseph’s I want to say that we stand with you against this sign of hatred and bigotry,” Cornwall, also a member of the Troy-area Interfaith Group, commented Friday on Patch. “This is simply not acceptable in our community.”

Other Troy Patch readers also expressed disappointment in the incident.

“That makes me so sad,” Meghan Waldron commented on Facebook. “How could anyone be so evil?

“The people of Troy need to stand up and support this congregation,” Kathleen Martin commented. “We can’t let the evil of a few insult the diversity of religion here.”

Meanwhile, Zoma said the church has already moved on, adding that the goal of parishoners is just to “be good church members and citizens.”

“These are moral principles of family,” he said. “Respect and human dignity, this is what we’ve been preaching.”

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Related Topics: St. Joseph and St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
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http://troy.patch.com/articles/community-offers-support-to-st-josephs