The beautiful church, located in the center of the city and very popular, in fact, today, was bare, without benches, without many paintings. As if pierced and humiliated. This is because on the night of Monday 11 November, a group of hooded men ransacked and damaged the church, taking away the wooden benches, used to form barricades and then set on fire to block the streets.
Even paintings and furnishings were destroyed as a sign of contempt, as television pictures clearly showed.
Talca is a city of 250 thousand inhabitants in the center of Chile. Here, the Salesians are well known and respected for their vocational training schools and for the shrine of Mary Help of Christians, a center of faith and prayer.
The church of Mary Help of Christians is the second church to suffer this type of attack, since the protests began in Chile. Two days ago, in the capital Santiago, the parish of the Assumption was also desecrated.
The photographs posted on the web, even concerning the church of Talca, testify to the senseless violence of the events, incomprehensible pretexts suitable only for triggering anguish and fear.
This attack represents a double pain for the Salesian Family, since the month dedicated to Mary Immaculate began recently, and this church is a traditional meeting place for devotees of the Virgin. Another reason that it touches the Salesian Family closely is that this Salesian house was the last house of which Don Bosco knew of its foundation before his death in 1888.
The educational community of the city has expressed in many ways its dismay and its sadness for these acts of vandalism, which have no connection with the social movement of recent days in Chile and its just demands.
Faced with these events, the Provincial of Chile, Fr Carlos Lira, declared: "We totally condemn this situation of violence and call for peace, dialogue and the search for respectful ways to channel the legitimate demands of the Chilean people. We invite the Salesian Family to pray intensely for our country and to continue to renew the commitment to a fraternal and just homeland."