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(LifeSiteNews) – The Archdiocese of Panama has released a statement condemning the actions of yet unknown persons who desecrated a Catholic church in the Western part of the nation, spelling out a satanic phrase with Communion hosts.

According to a local report published Thursday, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Panama Father Carlos Mejía issued a statement urging local Catholics to engage in “reflection” following last week’s desecration of Mary Help of Christians church in Bejuco, Chame, while reminding the laity of their duty to ensure “zealous care” is taken of their “places of worship.”

Mejía also called for the evangelization of those “submerged in this type of syncretistic practice,” urging parish priests and others to “redouble their prayer efforts so that the Lord may help them to redouble their prayer efforts.”

The mayor of the district of Chame, Abdul Juliao, referred to the desecration as being so terrible it has “no name,” and vowed to make sure those responsible are fully prosecuted under the law.

According to the local report, it was last Wednesday when parishioners at Mary Help of Christians (María Auxiliadora) entered their church to discover that at least one vandal had taken consecrated hosts from the tabernacle and “dispersed” them around the church.

Footage on social media shows that some of the hosts were laid on the ground to form the phrase “Ariel Satan Vive” or, in English, “Satan Lives.” Other hosts were used to form upside-down crosses, a symbol commonly used by those engaged in satanic practice.

Panama’s National Police (FN) is actively investigating the incident, and noted that neither the church nor the tabernacle were broken into.

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Many Catholics took to social media to lament the blasphemous event, and encouraged Catholics to pray and do penance in reparation for the grave mockery of Jesus Christ’s True Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist.

While the desecration of Catholic churches is nothing new, such acts of hatred toward Christ and His Church have continued to ramp up in historically Catholic regions in Central and South America.

In 2019, Antifa-like protesters in Chile desecrated a church and tabernacle in Santiago. Similar acts of anti-Catholic persecution have occurred in Mexico and Nicaragua.