NORTH PHILADELPHIA - Police are asking for the public's help in identifying two young men accused of setting a fire to the front doors of a church in North Philadelphia.
"I was saddened and we’re seeking justice," said Fr. Joseph LoJacono.
He's the current pastor of St. Veronica's Catholic Church on the 500 block of Tioga Street in North Philly.
"I was called by the fire department that there was an incident with a fire that had started outside on the front door of the church," he said.
It happened around 2:30 a.m. June 19. Police released surveillance video Tuesday. It shows two men walk up to the church, get a fire going and take off.
"I think it’s a sign of a lessening of the faith and a certain anger and hatred to the Catholic faith," said Fr. LoJacono.
He adds it happened during the second week of an outreach mission where they go door to door in the community. He says the arson incident inspired them to continue their mission that same day near Kensington and Allegheny.
"Showing our outreach that we are not afraid and we continue with the cross and the rosary to reach out in the name of Jesus," he said. A week-and-a-half later you can still see the charred panel of the two-fold door.
"The stained glass window seems almost a loss and the door will probably need to be replaced," said Fr. LoJacono who also has this to say to the men who would vandalize a place of worship.
"We’re praying for you and we’re calling you to repentance," he said. The Arson Task Force is investigating. The church is planning to set up a GoFundme in the coming days to help with a deductible for the doors and to get a new security system.
If you have any information about this crime or these suspects, please contact the City Wide Arson Task Force: 215-246-7875 Det. Ken Golczewski DC 21-25-037411.
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