Pastor willing to forgive vandalism of West End church

Father Christopher Rhodes, pastor of Christ the King Church, said he’s willing to forgive those who broke into and vandalized rooms in the historic church, located on 44th Street, the night of May 14.

Father Rhodes said he believes the damage done to the church was intentional rather than random, but not racially motivated.

“I’m willing to forgive and move on. I believe in forgiveness, I believe in mercy and grace. It’s what the church is about,” said Father Rhodes.

Bob Frazier, who serves as the parish’s administrator, business and rental manager, said the church’s basement was broken into May 14. The individual or individuals then carved a message with an expletive into one of the doors and vandalized several rooms — a kitchen, the enrichment center, a dance studio used by a tenant and an area that served as a daycare years ago. Frazier said the church itself was not vandalized.

Windows were shattered, bottles of soda were taken from the kitchen and sprayed everywhere and several fire extinguishers were emptied of their contents, said Frazier.

A Louisville Metro Police investigation is ongoing as well as the effort to clean the affected areas, said Frazier.

Catholic Mutual Group, the Archdiocese of Louisville’s insurance provider, estimates the cost of repairs and cleanup will be under $20,000. The labor related to cleaning the substance from the fire extinguishers will be the most costly, said Brad Harruf of Catholic Mutual.
Frazier said what was done to the historic parish is “evil” and a “total insult.”

Both Frazier and Father Rhodes noted the parish has persevered through plenty of challenges in its 94-year history.

“What was done was very unfortunate. The parish has endured a lot over the years. It’s endured a fire and a flood,” said Father Rhodes. “The parish will be fine. We will move past this. Christ the King will remain Christ the King and continue to be an important part of the community and the history of the Archdiocese of Louisville.”

Frazier said in 2017, water pipes burst in the church’s lower level flooding the area with hundreds of gallons of water. A few months later, he said a fire broke out in the church. The church was also damaged by the flood of 1937.

Following the acts of vandalism May 14, the church did not close and was able to celebrate Mass May 16.

Frazier and Father Rhodes said they hope whoever is responsible will seek forgiveness.

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