MADAWASKA, Maine — St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Madawaska is set to reopen later this month after being vandalized in early October.
A reopening event is set for 6 p.m. on Nov. 30 at the church, where Bishop Robert Deeley will attend for a Mass of reparation.
Police arrested Randy Lavoie, 47, of Madawaska on Oct. 2 in connection with the vandalism. According to Madawaska Police Chief Jamie Pelletier, the most significant damage was done to the pipe organ, which is expensive to repair or replace. Marble walls, plate glass windows and other items in the church’s sanctuary were also damaged.
Police charged Lavoie with burglary and aggravated criminal mischief. Both charges are considered Class C felonies and carry a potential punishment of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Aroostook County District Attorney Todd Collins said it could be more than a year before any determination is made regarding a hateful motive behind the vandalism.
Since the incident occurred, regularly scheduled masses were moved to St. David’s Catholic Church, which is also in Madawaska. Religious education classes were moved to the Knights of Columbus Hall.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is not considering the incident to be a hate crime.
Pelletier said Tuesday that repair work has started. He said the damages are estimated to be about $300,000.