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Good Samaritan recovers holy figurines damaged at Billings church

By Andrea Lutz,


BILLINGS- A Billings church is getting some answers and some closure after its nativity scene was vandalized and the Holy family was stolen.

A good Samaritan and Q2 News viewer saw previous coverage of the vandalism at Billings’ St. Patrick Co-Cathedral and realized where her recent find belonged.

While she wouldn’t speak to Q2 on camera and asked to remain anonymous, she did share what happened.

“Hello! I have some good news; I have Mary and Joseph!” she wrote in her email.

Noticing the decapitated Joseph on her apartment building’s fire escape, with the help of family and some other residents, they recovered his body.

“We also found Mary. We, unfortunately, did not find Jesus. I have reattached Joseph’s head,” her email said.

The St. Patrick Co-Cathedral Christmas nativity scene is typically left up until early February.

But this year, the church's outdoor nativity scene was destroyed on Jan. 16—the same night Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church was broken into on the Billings South Side.

Father Leo McDowell said Tuesday the incident has rattled the church at 215 N. 31st St.

Although the good Samaritan was able to glue Joseph’s head back together after the vandals knocked it off, McDowell says the pieces will likely have to be replaced.

“It’s not easy to fix Styrofoam,” he said. “They are made from a foam that you would use to fill the cracks in your home, and most of the parts aren’t being made. So, we will probably end up buying a new set of fiberglass.”

Now, the whole thing is in the hands of police as evidence, but McDowell says perhaps someone can still help St. Patrick’s locate their missing baby Jesus.

“I am hopeful that someone will run across it may be hearing the story tonight,” he said.

And in the future, McDowell says vandals beware: cameras will likely be rolling.

As for where the nativity scene pieces are now, McDowell says they have most of them in storage and he hasn’t seen Mary or Joseph because they are in police custody.

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