Saskatchewan’s Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church is the latest on the list of at least 97 Christian places of worship to have been burned or vandalized since the debunked claim was made that the remains of 215 children, who were students of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, had been discovered in unmarked graves.
While the motive behind the incident remains unknown, surveillance footage originally posted on social media by one of the church’s pastors, James Hentges, shows a masked individual attempting to destroy the church by pouring gasoline on the office entrance of the church before fleeing during the early hours of February 9th.
In a statement to the Regina Leader-Post earlier on Monday, Hentges, while not speculating on why the individual did what he did, stated that it is clear the act was intentional. “It’s hard to comprehend that someone would go to that deliberate method,” he said.
Pastor James further went on to describe the congregation and himself as being shocked, confused and scared about the incident, "especially when they see the video."
According to Pastor James, it’s not the first time an incident like this has occurred in the inner-city area.
The pastor reports looking out of a window of the Parish, where he also resides, and seeing an individual break the windows of an office just a few months prior.
“It’s something that happens here in the center of the city and it needs to be addressed, I think,” Pastor James added.
Despite firefighters arriving early on the scene to suppress the fire, a statement on the church’s website shows services have been interrupted due to the “arson/fire and necessary cleanup.”
Mass services were cancelled over the past weekend and are cancelled until mid-week. The Parish plans to open its doors to the community just in time for Ash Wednesday service.
In a telephone statement to Rebel News, Regina Police Services (RPS) media liaison Lindsey Hoemsen confirmed that the incident is still under the early stages of investigation.
Regina Police are asking any member of the public who has information that could aid the investigation to contact the RPS directly at 306-777-6500 or get in touch with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Rebel News has been closely covering the rise in attacks against Christianity in Canada, including assaults on their places of worship. If you haven’t already watched our exclusive documentary called "Church under fire: Canada’s War on Christianity," you can do so by clicking here.