A closeup for the statute in front of St. Francis of Assisi Polish National Catholic Church. It was vandalized by two individuals on Sunday night, Feb.16, 2014. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)Vandals broke off the head and hands of a statue of St. Francis of Assisi at a Catholic church in Denver on Sunday night.Church officials said Monday it was at least the fourth time the statue has been vandalized in the past two years. The statue also has been stolen previously.The incident happened about 11 p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Polish National Catholic Church, 556 South Jersey St.The vandals, two young men, broke a window in the back of the church to gain access to the building, said Lisa Shubel, a parishioner and spokeswoman. Once inside, the pair caused more damage, including ransacking the kitchen. After being a target in the past, the church installed a security alarm and surveillance system. The alarm likely caused the pair to flee the church quickly, Shubel said. A closeup for the statute in front of St. Francis of Assisi Polish National Catholic Church. It was vandalized by two individuals on Sunday night, Feb.16, 2014. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)The small church was to celebrate a “blessing of the animals” on Saturday, Shubel said. St. Francis of Assisi is recognized as the patron saint of animals.”We are struggling” with this, Shubel said. Lent, the Christian season leading to Easter, begins on Wednesday, which is Ash Wednesday. “We don’t know if it is related or not,” Shubel said. “The timing is terrible.” The vandals also damaged figures of animals, which were part of the art piece. Denver police are investigating the incident. In 2010, a statue of St. Francis outside the church was stolen — unbolted from a pedestal and whisked away. Parishioners raised money to replace the statue, and the replacement statue was damaged about five months after the theft. In that 2010 incident, the head of the statue was also smashed.Kieran Nicholson: 303-954-1822, [email protected] or twitter.com/kierannicholson – Click Here To Visit Article Source