Hanford church picking up the pieces months after church was ransacked and set on fire

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Two months after a vicious attack, a South Valley catholic church is healing, forgiving, and starting to replace some of the precious items that were damaged. (KFSN)

It's been anything but fast, after nearly two months after Hanford's Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church was ransacked, and even set on fire, the church is still recovering from the destruction. And months away from returning to worship as it once was.

"And we're trying to make it more secure, more stable, and do some other things that will improve both the safety of the building and also the quality of our worship service," said Jean-Michael Lastiri, Immaculate Heart of Mary Pastor.

The fire essentially destroyed the sacristy. Now it's off limits, as crews work to remove asbestos before replacing the flooring.

"The finger the head all the fingers, the tow, was smashed," said Father Lastiri.

Repair work on these statues will begin this weekend. Because of their sentimental value, Father Lastiri said the idea is to restore these pieces, rather than replace them.

"Hits box, it's just sitting there, waiting to be shipped, and it's been this way for a month we're just kind of patiently waiting."

The tabernacle was dropped several times and suffered damage as a result. It is also awaiting repairs.

The man accused of all this damage is 33-year-old Oscar Ruiz. At the time of his arrest, Hanford Police said he told them he was upset with the Vatican.

Father Lastiri said the church is in the process of meeting with him, but that's also slow-going.

"So like, to kind of listen, offer a word of healing, a reconciliation, letting his family know that we want to care for him and care for them as well."

Ruiz is scheduled for back in court Thursday.

Although it will be many more days before the church is fully restored, it will also be upgraded. And the church, both the building and congregation will be stronger as a result.

"It's always the truth when an evil happens, the good that comes out of it is immeasurable. You can't measure the good that comes out when evil happens," said Father Lastiri.

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