CARMEL (AP) — Police in Northern California say vandals defaced a statue of Father Junipero Serra at the Carmel Mission, where the remains of the recently canonized missionary are buried.
Carmel Police Sgt. Luke Powell told the Salinas Californian that vandals struck Saturday night, damaging statues, gravesites and signs and spewing green and white paint on doors.
The Mission says a statue of Serra and other historic statues in the courtyard were toppled. Photos posted on the Mission’s Facebook page show someone wrote “Saint of Genocide” on a stone.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis elevated Serra to sainthood. The 18th-century Spanish friar brought the Catholic faith to California.
Many Native Americans say the missions cut their ancestors off from their traditional languages and cultures and enslaved those who converted to Christianity.
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