PHOENIX - Even though the doors were locked tight and windows boarded up more than 50 years after being built, the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Phoenix remains the heart of a community.
On Monday night, vandals armed with cans of spray paint defaced the south side of the historic church with words that remain meaningless to most but weigh heavy on a community's heart.
Abe Arvizu with Braun-Sacred Heart Center says, "It really really hurts, it really drives the stake home. I think that is how everybody who has seen this has felt."
"I know what art is, I might not accept all the art but this isn't art. This is vandalism," Arvizu said.
The church building is what is left of the Golden Gate Barrio.
"It's the last standing building of this community, of all these communities here. This is what is left of their mother, their father, their grandparents. And this is what is really important to them. This was the heart of the community," Arvizu said.
It's a cultural icon for man and holds a lesson to remember moving forward.
Santos Vega says, "It's a pity, but that's part of our situation today in society when people just don't learn to respect and love their neighbor."
Both men say they are heartbroken by this act, but plan to move forward and hope that authorities can catch the person or persons who did this to make sure it never happens again.
Anyone with information about the vandalism is encouraged to call police.