The shrine will need to be professionally cleaned with help from insurance money, he said. 

The spray paint won’t seep into the marble itself, he said, but the Divine Mercy image is made up of tiles, so the grout between the tiles will need to be professionally cleaned, Maack said. 

Maack requested prayers for the perpetrator, noting that Jesus’ Divine Mercy — expressed in the image they defaced — remains available for them. 

The motive for the attack is not clear. The letters spray-painted on the image, “ANKHEEMMAAT,” may refer to the similarly-spelled “Ankhemmaat,” an obscure 4th-century B.C. Egyptian priest. 

The vandalism was promptly reported to the police, Maack said. 

When reached by CNA, Sergeant Jeffery Galley of the Kenosha Police Department said the department did receive the criminal complaint, but they do not yet have any leads in the case. 

Vandalism attacks against Catholic buildings, monuments, and places of worship have continued apace since at least May 2020, when the U.S. bishops began tracking such incidents. Since then, the bishops’ national office says they have tracked at least 172 incidents across 38 states and the District of Columbia. 

The vandalism incidents include multiple incidents of statues and gravestones defaced, including with swastikas and anti-Catholic language.