Montgomery County explosives and fire investigators need your help after attacks on three Bethesda churches that are very close together.
One incident was reported at 2 : 15 Sunday at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic Church, Old Georgetown Road. An estimated $50,000 in damage was done to the sanctuary and forced the congregation to move services to an adjacent gymnasium, media reports indicated.
” We are shocked and saddened, but we have a deep-rooted faith community that is committed to helping others,” said a spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese Washington. Our resolve and bond only strengthens when we’re tested by fire, literally in this instance. Today Our thoughts are with St. Jane de Chantal Community
The other attacks occurred in the morning hours of Saturday. They caused less damage to the North Bethesda United Methodist Church, and Wildwood Baptist Church.
The Methodist outpost sustained approximately $1,000 in damage when a fire was set outside the church building. Although gravestones and other objects were destroyed at the Baptist Church, no value was attached to this incident.
“Fire/Explosive Investigators seeking info RE this morning’s (2a) fire at Saint Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic Church ANYONE w/ any info Call @mcfrs ARSON Tipline 240.777. 2263,” Fire Department Public Information Officer Pete Piringer stated via Twitter.
He said earlier that the fire involved many pews within [the] main Church Area .”
Area radio station WTOP quoted Mr. Piringer saying that this attack was the second on the Catholic congregation over the past few days. quoted Rev. Samuel Giese is the pastor of the church and he described the damages during Sunday’s Mass.
“Last Night our church was vandalized,” Father Giese stated during an online service. According to the report. People broke into the church. Statues were overturned. They tore down the Stations of the Cross. He said that they had desecrated the Tabernacle and attempted to light the church on fire.”
The radio station reported that the attack was connected to the Catholic Church’s pro-life position as well as the Supreme Court’s recent decision to return abortion law to individual states.
The Council on Islamic-American Relations called for police to look into “a possible bias motive for these attacks.”
“Houses of worship were attacked, and we are concerned about the rise in incidents involving faith and minorities that have been reported, so we ask law enforcement officials to look into the possibility of bias motivation for these troubling incidents,” Zainab Chandry, the Maryland director of the group, stated in a statement.