Statues knocked down at St. Joseph Catholic Church

Apr. 20—Two statues at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 321 N. Virginia St., were found toppled and damaged Friday morning.

A statue of the Virgin Mary, which members say is more than 100 years old, was in pieces against the sidewalk south of the church.

A newer statue, depicting the Holy Family — Mary, Joseph and Jesus — was knocked face down, mostly intact, into a flower bed.

The Rev. Robert Dye, associate pastor, said the incident was reported to Muskogee Police and officers came to investigate Friday morning.

"It looks like someone came up to both statues and pushed them over," Dye said.

Church member Teresa Hughes said the statue of Mary once stood in front of Nazareth Catholic Academy, a Native girls' boarding school.

Another member, Susan Lacey, said the statue later stood at Muskogee's Assumption Catholic Church, which no longer exists.

"I just remember how beautiful she is. She just had the most beautiful face ever," Lacey said, about the statue. "It's just breaking my heart."

Dye said a church member from Vietnam touches the statue as she comes to daily Mass.

Hughes said the newer statue was placed at the church several months ago.

Dye said the church has video from the previous night showing three people near the Holy Family statue.

"One of them, you can see him pushing hard," Dye said. "It took some effort. It was bolted down."

Prayers for the people on the video were offered at Friday Mass, he said.

Dye said there was no graffiti on any statue.

He said the church office manager told him the older statue could be valued at up to $10,000, while the Holy Family statue could be valued at $1,200.