A woman punched a lector in the face during the 11 a.m. morning Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, Pa. on Sunday, Aug. 23.
As the victim returned to her seat, the suspect punched the lector twice. The victim did not require medical attention.
Police are in search of the suspect, who is not currently in custody.
Cathedral Rector and Pastor Fr. Gerald Dennis Gill told ABC News in Philadelphia that they “immediately contacted authorities.”
“We immediately followed up on it off-camera and it’s important for us to do that because people are at home and continuing to participate in Mass. Nonetheless, it was very upsetting. Parishioners attending in person were shocked, as were so many that watch the 11 a.m. Mass live-streaming online.”
Philadelphia Archbishop Nelson J. Perez issued a statement regarding the incident, calling it “a senseless act.”
“Such behavior is unacceptable at all times, especially within the confines of a church building and during the celebration of the Holy Mass,” Archbishop Perez said.
“The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is working in conjunction with police regarding the matter and will cooperate with them fully. Please be assured that there are safety and security plans in place for the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.
“We welcome all visitors and work to provide for their safety.
“Violence has no place in our world and every life is a precious gift from God. Please join me in praying for everyone involved in today’s incident and for respect for our fellow brothers and sisters.”
Lord Have Mercy!