Reader punched while ministering at Mass

A woman who yelled at and punched a reader during Mass this week will not be prosecuted.

A video of Sunday’s live-streamed Mass shows two readers leaving the sanctuary after completing the readings when the mentally ill woman punched one of them twice in the face.

The attack was seemingly unprovoked.

The victim says the woman mumbled “something about respecting God” while hitting her.

Archbishop Nelson Perez of Philadelphia says the reader received immediate help from Cathedral staff members off camera, did not require medical attention and is “doing well”.

The church contacted authorities immediately after the incident.

“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,” says Rev. Dennis Gill.

The incident was “very upsetting,” he says.

“Parishioners attending in person were shocked as were so many that watch the 11 a.m. Mass live-streamed online.”

According to Kenneth Gavin, chief communications officer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the victim did not know the woman who attacked her, and “it is unclear what precipitated the assault.”

He says “there are safety and security plans in place for the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and it is a safe place to visit and to worship.”

His statement also encouraged people to “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.”

Police say after questioning the woman they have deferred assault charges because she is not mentally fit to face prosecution.


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