Vandals hack down cross above religious retreat

25-foot cross has been at the site since 1975
Vandals hacked down a cross that has stood above Riverside's Catholic Divine Word Seminary for more than 40 years (photos: Geoffrey Buyco and Divine Word Seminary)

Vandals hacked down a cross that has stood above Riverside’s Catholic Divine Word Seminary for more than 40 years (photos: Geoffrey Buyco and Divine Word Seminary)

The following comes from a March 31 Press Enterprise article by Patrick O’Neill:

A vandal cut down a cross at a Christian retreat center in Riverside, prompting religious leaders to call it a hate crime.

About 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, a neighbor called the Divine Word Retreat Center, near La Sierra and Cypress avenues, wondering if gusting winds and rain the night before had unearthed a 20-foot cross long perched on a hill behind the Catholic-run center.

Geoffrey Buyco, the 39-year-old center manager, hiked up the hill to investigate and found wood chips scattered around the base of a roughly 2-foot stump, he said. The rest of the cross was lying beside it.

A neighboring resident reported the downed cross at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, wondering if gusting winds and rain the night before had unearthed the long-standing structure. (photo: Geoffrey Buyco)

A neighboring resident reported the downed cross at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, wondering if gusting winds and rain the night before had unearthed the long-standing structure. (photo: Geoffrey Buyco)

“It’s really heartbreaking to go up there and see that cross lying there,” Buyco said. “Just thinking about it is – my whole life it’s been up there.”

Riverside police Lt. Carla Hardin said officers were investigating late Wednesday. No one witnessed the crime and there are no common signs of a hate crime such as graffiti or a note, Hardin said.

A cross has been at the site since the early 1960s, when seminary students lugged the wood up the hill to build it. The current cross was erected in 1975, Buyco said.

Thousands of people make religious retreats at the center. Last week, hundreds hiked the hill to the cross to commemorate Good Friday.

Buyco said the cross-cutting, done sometime Tuesday night or early Wednesday, was a hate crime.

“Obviously there’s a reason for why you’d cut a cross down,” Buyco said. “This is completely out of the blue. It’s such a big thing, it’s going to be tough letting everyone know.”

Employees at the retreat center hope to erect a cross in the same spot as soon as possible.

Comments

  1. Brian McNally says

    Replace the cut and destroyed cross, with a 40 foot cross!

  2. Assault on Christianity in the U.S. just over 30 years ago would have been unheard of and a shock to America, but the times have changed and it is open season on Christians with no end in sight. No outcry from the media nothing! Yet could you imagine if this was a Islamic star & crescent next to a mosque cut down? Well let me tell you CAIR and Team Obama would be all over this story with screams of HATE CRIME against the “RELIGION OF PEACE”! Folks it is up to us not anybody else to stand up for Christ and His Church the bishops are not worthy to do anything, Pope Benedict the XVI said the laypeople will save the Holy Roman Church not the bishops.

  3. Fr. John Higgins says

    I’ve seen this cross many times. This is a sign that the radical secularists and other radical folks are not as peaceful and tolerant as they claim to be. I agree with Brian McNally, the cross should be replaced ASAP. I’d add that an alligator pond could surround it (grin).

  4. The fly by media will never call this a hate crime because anything against Christianity is seldom reported, and if it is, religion is always taken out of the facts. Now if any harm ever came to a mosque, this would be headlines for quite some time on all the major networks (except Fox, which is at least fair and balanced). It is open season on all things Catholic and Christian. It is time for a 21’s century version of the crusades.

  5. From the Pew says

    No problems….Looks like the Church Militant has work to do. So get going and do something simple right away……We can plan and dream of a future Bigger, Stronger, Protected Cross on that site but in the meantime, re-install the top portion of that lovely historical Cross in the same spot as soon as you can get a group of pros and/or volunteers to dig out the old remnant. God willing, the same hateful ‘nuts’ won’t dare risk destruction of property charges anytime soon, as people will now be more watchful of that area.

  6. Anonymous says

    Ah – this is nothing new.
    Look at what Saint Elizabeth Seton went through after converting to Catholicism!
    Look at the cross-burnings the KKK did against Catholics for ages.
    Look at how priests, in the early days of this country, had to go underground to bring the Sacraments to the faithful, because our religious was outlawed, just as the Quaker were outlawed.
    America has never been a paradise for anyone.

  7. Europe needs evangelization says

    Where is the U.S. Attorney General’s office when patent hate crimes are perpetrated against Christians? The gal in charge immediately defended Muslims from potential attacks following the San Bernardino massacre. Our feckless Prez has yet to denounce as genocide radical Muslim jihadists’ slaughter of Christians everywhere. Look to see Hillary give token reference to genocide during her run up to the White House this fall, but it will be all talk no do, as she is a radical pro abortionist. See the connection?

    If radical jihadists can get away with murder and simply be called terrorists by our Prez, then I guess we Christians can simply say that members of the Inquisition were only terrorists too, not Christians at all. Think about…

  8. Jesusita says

    This time, replace the cross with a crucifix. Since this is on Catholic property, or near the Divine Word Center, it is fitting that a Catholic crucifix be erected. Then the vandals and the world will know where we stand. Ave Maria Purrissima !

  9. The Islamic, Satanic, New Age, Christ-O-Phobic God Haters want to destroy Catholic Christianity and wipe it out completely. They will fail. Perhaps the Cross that was cut down, should maybe be replaced by a large thick solid steel Crucifix of equal size.

  10. ISALM is protected why? Because LIBERALS know very well they would be on a hit list from ISIS or any evil ISLAMIC death cult if they ever denounced ISLAM. Where are the gays, feminists, atheists. Hollywood elites, rock stars, rappers, all afraid nowhere to be found, yet we Catholics turn the other cheek, the ‘religion of peace” would kill them in a second and they know it folks.

  11. Of course this is a hate crime. The reason nothing is being done about it is because the very powerful anti God anti Christian secular humanist forces in the western world today are busy doing all they can to destroy both Christianity and the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Remember brothers and sisters in Christ not even the gates of hell will prevail against the Bride of Christ the Holy Roman Catholic Church. As the Cristeros said Viva Cristo Rey’ Long live Christ the King’

  12. The fact that one of the only things left standing at ground zero after 9/11 was a cross not made by man should terrify people who do this, but it will not until God “takes them out” in his own good time.

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