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Virgin Mary statue in Dorchester burned in alleged arson

The face and upper body of the statue were charred Sunday after a person lit fire to plastic flowers in the hands of the statue the day before, according to Boston police.
The face and upper body of the statue were charred Sunday after a person lit fire to plastic flowers in the hands of the statue the day before, according to Boston police.Lucas Phillips

A statue of the Virgin Mary near St. Peter’s Church in Dorchester was left charred after someone set plastic flowers in the statue’s hands on fire Saturday night, according to Boston police.

Officers responded to a report of a fire at about 10 p.m. Saturday near 284 Bowdoin St., where the statue had been set afire, police said in a statement.

An “unknown suspect” set fire to the plastic flowers tucked in the statue’s hands, which are clasped in prayer, according to the statement.

On Sunday morning, the upper body and face of the white statue appeared blackened, drawing stares from passersby. The statue sits at the entrance to a parking lot for a teen center and therapeutic day school across the street from St. Peter’s Church.

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“Whoever is responsible for the desecration of the Holy Mother’s statue is clearly a troubled soul,” said Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for Cardinal Seán O’Malley, in a statement Sunday afternoon.

“Mary represents all that is good and pure in our world,” he said. “We have confidence in local law enforcement to investigate this matter. We pray for the person or persons responsible.”

Police said the incident is under investigation and requested that any member of the public with information contact District C-11 detectives at 617-343-4335 or by calling the anonymous tip line at 1-800-494-TIPS.


Lucas Phillips can be reached at lucas.phillips@globe.com.