PALISADES PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Parishioners at a New Jersey church are still in shock after the statue of their patron saint was beheaded.

The statue of St. Nicholas at the St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church in Palisades Park was vandalized over the weekend. Officials believe the head was smashed with a rock and the staff was also broken off.

It was very disturbing to long-time parishioners who on Saturday morning discovered that the fiberglass statue, dedicated three years ago, was vandalized.

“This is very sad indeed,” parishioner Gina Odorisio said. “This is a wonderful symbol for all those who pass by.”

“In all the years we’ve had this Church I’ve never seen anything like this,” another parishioner said.

Father Jeremy Soldevilla said the act could have been committed by “anybody.”

“It could be for any reason, we don’t know,” he told CBS 2’s John Slattery.

“Logically I would want to think it was just some drunken youth…some drunk making some mischief,” seminarian Felix Mazeli said.

Frances Martini lives across the street from the church and said that “it just makes you feel awful.”

Martini’s husband, Charlie, proudly displays a photo of his grandfather when the church cornerstone was laid in 1928 at his pizza place around the corner.  He said he wishes he could have who perpetrated the act.

“I only wish I’d been out and stumbled upon it at that time because we would have had a little street justice,” he said.

St. Nicholas is a 4th Century bishop, who inspired the legend of Santa Claus. He is the patron of children, sailors and people in need.

No arrests have been made.

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