ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Hundreds of parishioners at a New Mexico church are heartbroken over a well-known statue that’s now missing. The church says someone stole the decades-old figure of the Virgin Mary from their front steps.
A bit of wire is all that is left where a five-foot statue of the Virgin Mary used to greet parishioners at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in the South Valley area of Albuquerque. The statue was stolen back in August after a church member spotted a car doing donuts in the parking lot.
The church has since filed a police report, hoping to get the statue back.
“The police came, and there was a report filed at that time; there was really nothing they could do, they said, but to ask around and to ask our community,” said St. Anne’s Associate Pastor Benjamin Maes.
He said they have seen police patrolling the area more after the incident.
The church commissioned artist Felix Pedroncelli to make the statue back in 1999. He used metal and fiber cement to form the Virgin Mary. Since then, it has been on the front steps of the church. He made a smaller one, similar to the one stolen, for another area of the church.
“Whatever I make, I donate them to people; It’s just my joy seeing somebody happy,” said Pedroncelli. That joy turned into shock when he learned what had recently taken place.
While it has been over a decade since he made one, Pedroncelli now says he is ready to make a new statue if the church needs one.
“Well, I hope whoever took the saint can bring it back,” said Pedroncelli. “This way, I don’t have to make one. If it’s destroyed, I will go out and fix it and put it back up for them.”