An unidentified female vandal set fire to a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary outside a New York City Catholic Church on Sunday, August 8.

The vandalism occurred outside the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Mary Catholic Church in Melrose around 6 p.m. Sunday. The unidentified woman reportedly launched a fiery object at the statue and ran away, according to the authorities.

"A woman came and put some clothing in front of the statue … and set it on fire," said Father Sean McGillicuddy, pastor of the parish.

He added that bystanders immediately alerted the fire department, who responded to the scene and "very quickly put it out."

"It was very small and there was hardly any damage done," Father McGillicuddy said.

Police are investigating the arson and have initiated a search to nab the perpetrator.

"It’s probably a person who is mentally imbalanced, so she lit some clothing on fire and threw it up on the statue, which is made of concrete, so it didn’t do much damage," a forgiving parish priest, who did not wish to be identified, told the New York Post.

"It would be important to check in to why isn’t there more help available for the mentally ill, that would be a better story," the priest said, dismissing the arson as "a non-incident".

A similar incident was reported last year where the Virgin Mary statue outside the St. Peter’s Parish church in Dorchester, Boston was set ablaze in what investigators said to be a hate crime.

The upper body and face of the white statue were completely blackened, The perpetrator had set fire to the plastic flowers, which were in the hands of the Virgin Mary statue.

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

"Mary represents all that is good and pure in our world," he said.

Two religious statues displayed outside Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in the New York borough of Queens were destroyed in an act of vandalism in the early morning hours of

On July 17, two statues, one of Mother Mary and the other of St. Therese Lisieux, also known as "the Little Flower", displayed outside Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in the New York borough of Queens, were found smashed into pieces.

According to a news release from the Diocese of Brooklyn, the statues were dragged 180 feet from the church and were smashed with a hammer.

Representational image. Pixabay.

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