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Donors Offering Help After Bridgeport Church’s Cross Vandalized

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A century-old copper cross in front of the rectory at St. Mary of Perpetual Help in Bridgeport was vandalized in the early morning hours of April 3, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

A century-old copper cross in front of the rectory at St. Mary of Perpetual Help in Bridgeport was vandalized in the early morning hours of April 3, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – After vandals damaged an old copper cross at St. Mary of Perpetual Help Church in the Bridgeport neighborhood, offers of help started pouring in.

WBBM’s Mike Krauser reports the damaged cross has become sort of a shrine, according to Father Donald Craig.

Craig said people have stopped by to take pictures next to the cross and say prayers, ever since vandals struck early Tuesday morning and left the copper cross dented, bent, and twisted. It now leans to one side.

Since the cross was vandalized, Craig said several people have offered to pay for repairs or even repair the cross themselves.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

The church has received $50 in donations and plans on restoring the cross. It is unclear how much the repairs will cost.

Once it is restored, the church plans to place it in a safer spot in front of the rectory, on the west side of the building. It will also be placed on a raised spot to make it more difficult for someone to get to it.

The church plans to rededicate the cross Friday afternoon.

The pastor said looking at the cross since it was vandalized makes him sad and a little angry.

“I just keep reminding myself of the words of Jesus from the cross: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” Craig said.

Craig said it wasn’t the first time criminals have targeted copper fixtures at the church. Three years ago, he chased off a man who had ripped off the copper gutters at the rectory.

But he said he doesn’t think the vandalism to the cross was an attempt to steal it.

“I just feel somebody wanted to deface it, and do some harm to it,” Craig said. “If people wanted to steal it for the copper, it wouldn’t be here. It would have been gone a long time ago.”

The cross is more than 100 years old and was initially on top of the St. Mary school, until it closed 13 years ago and the cross was moved to the outside of the church rectory.

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