St. Martin of Tours restoration nearly
complete after act of vandalism

Father Paul Beach, pastor of St. Martin of Tours, genuflected before the main altar, July 19. The altar, shattered during an act of vandalism last October, was restored in late spring. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

Close to nine months after St. Martin of Tours Church’s sanctuary suffered damages during an act of vandalism, it’s starting to return to normal.

Two sacred objects that were shattered during the attack have been restored and were returned to the parish July 19.

Father Paul Beach, pastor of St. Martin of Tours, removed the wrapping from a bronze sanctuary lamp in the parish’s sacristy July 19. The lamp was one of the sacred objects broken during an act of vandalism last October. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

After carefully unwrapping a bronze sanctuary lamp — which is kept burning in front of the tabernacle — and a large ornate altar crucifix, Father Paul Beach, pastor of St. Martin, said it was “nice to be back to normal.”

“Every time you go out there and look, it’s a reminder” of the incident, he said.

On Oct. 25, Father Beach said a man entered the parish’s sanctuary and did “a lot of damage.” According to Catholic Mutual Group, the Archdiocese of Louisville’s insurance provider, the cost of repairing the damages to the church totaled about $90,000.

Pictures captured by the priest’s cell phone document the aftermath — a shattered altar, sanctuary lamp and crucifix and pieces of marble strewn around the sanctuary.

The main altar, which is made of marble, suffered considerable damage. The restoration was completed about a month and a half ago.

Father Paul Beach, pastor of St. Martin of Tours, looked at a bronze crucifix in the parish’s sacristy July 19. The crucifix, one of the sacred objects broken during an act of vandalism last October, was recently restored. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

“It’s amazing they were able to restore it,” said Father Beach. “They were able to glue pieces back together and the pieces they couldn’t glue back together they replicated.”

The statues of angels that sat on the sides of the altar are still being repaired, he noted.

Father Beach said his main concern since the act of vandalism occurred has been the “mental and spiritual health” of the person who did it.

“This is marble and plaster and can be fixed. I hope he’s getting the help he needs,” said Father Beach, noting the individual was prosecuted and spent some time incarcerated.

The church is preparing to start work later this year to renovate its Divine Mercy Perpetual Adoration Chapel — which marked its 25th anniversary in April. The chapel was not damaged during the incident.

A worker installed newly restored marble on the high altar at St. Martin of Tours Church this spring following an act of vandalism in October that caused $90,000 in damages to the sanctuary. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister)

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