DENVER (CBS4) – Cleaning crews spent part of their Sunday washing graffiti off of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The basilica sits on Colfax Avenue at Logan Street in downtown Denver.

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The church was vandalized on Sunday morning between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Some of the graffiti read “Satan lives here.” References to “child rapists” and hate groups were also painted on the outside of the basilica.

“It was offensive,” said Father Samuel Morehead. “I mean, this was either an act by somebody who is mentally unstable, or a true act of hate against Catholics.”

A woman was reportedly seen on surveillance video.

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A spokesperson for Denver Police confirmed the department is investigating the incident. They did not share any information about any persons of interest.

In late September, the Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Boulder also suffered vandalism. Those responsible destroyed a pro-life display and spray painted political and pro-abortion messages all over the property.

Father Morehead said this was the third vandalism incident at the cathedral in three months. On Sunday said he would acknowledge what happened during evening mass and urge parishioners to meet whoever is responsible with mercy.

“There will be an act of mercy, forgiveness, turning the other cheek, but at the same time we’re going to say, ‘hate is not OK,'” he said.

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Messages including “My body, My choice” were spray painted on the St. Louis Catholic Church in Louisville in early September.

The Archdiocese of Denver released the following statement to CBS4:

 “It continues to be troubling to see the increased reports of vandalism at Catholic churches, both across the county and in our archdiocese, and it is certainly unfortunate when our parishes are targeted simply because of our beliefs.

Since February 2020, the Archdiocese of Denver is aware of at least 25 parishes or ministry locations in northern Colorado that have been the target of vandalism, property destruction, or theft. This has included broken windows, damaged and defaced statues, graffiti, attempted arson, vehicle damage, stolen religious items, and other break-ins and thefts. More than 10 incidents have occurred in the last six months.

Some of the incidents have been clearly targeted at the Catholic Church, but not all of them. The number could be higher because some minor incidents are not always reported.

We continue to pray for the conversion of those who carry out acts of desecration against our churches, statues, and religious symbols.”

Conor McCue