ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNS) — Police continued to investigate vandalism that occurred Dec. 2 at Holy Family Cathedral in downtown Anchorage.

According to Dominican Father Mark Francis Manzano, parochial vicar and a member of his order’s Western province, he and the other Dominican priests on the parish staff discovered overturned pews, toppled furniture and debris in the sanctuary.


The Catholic Anchor, Anchorage’s archdiocesan newspaper, reported that Advent candles and the ambo also were thrown to the floor and a microphone connected to the sound system was ripped out.

Father Manzano said that while the damage was considerable, “it could have been much worse.”

“By the grace of God, the tabernacle, the relics and the ambry were all secured and left untouched,” he said in a posting on his Facebook page.

According to the Anchor, the cathedral was the first church built in Anchorage. It will celebrate its centennial year in 2015.

St. John Paul II visited the cathedral in 1981 during a stop in Anchorage. During a February trip that year to the Philippines, Guam and Japan, the pope had stopovers of several hours in Pakistan and Anchorage.

Father Manzano, who also heads Hispanic ministry for the cathedral parish, said on his Facebook page that because it serves Anchorage’s downtown, the cathedral tries to “intentionally keep our doors open from an hour before the morning Mass until the conclusion of Vespers in the evening.”

“Now we are rethinking our schedule,” he said. “We are rethinking lots of things now since this is the second vandalism event within one week of each other.”