St. Anthony Catholic Church was built in 1846 and has seen lots of vandalism over the years.
In fact, it was burned to the ground by an arsonist in the 1970s.
But on Monday morning, parishioners were getting ready for their 6 a.m. rosary when they noticed items had been thrown around near the front door.
“I peeked in and said, ‘Oh my God somebody came here last night and thrashed the chapel,’” said Father Roland Bunda.
Father Bunda has been at St. Anthony Church for 12 years.
He says this is the second time in a month the church has been targeted.
“Three and a half weeks ago, someone entered the rectory, the priest residence where I live, and smashed through the jalousie windows and came in and thrashed our kitchen…then destroyed Our Lady of Lourdes statue and cut off her neck and body,” he said.
He says they typically lock the church after their final evening service.
“But of course yesterday was Easter Sunday,” he said. “We had mass only in the morning and we did not have mass at 5 p.m., so inadvertently we forgot to close the chapel,” Father Roland said.
He says in his 12 years there, he’s seen lots of break-ins but believes these vandals were trying to send a message.
“On the podium where we proclaim the gospel, they broke the light and they put pictures inside. So I guess they were trying to send a message, and they had a candle lit,” he said.
The vandals also destroyed pictures, covered relics of Saints, and wrote on the walls with lipstick.
Father Roland now hopes to have security cameras installed.
“I don’t want to shut down the chapel because of this one incident, but to be more vigilant and to have more of supervisory security in place so at least you know to be ready in case someone wants to do it again,” he said.
The Maui Police Department says the case is being investigated as a burglary.