Ottawa Police are investigating a case of vandalism at Ottawa’s oldest English-speaking catholic parish.

Parishioners say a woman ran into St. Patrick’s Basilica, at the corner of Nepean and Kent Streets, around 8:30pm Sunday, just before 9pm mass and started vandalizing the church. 

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” one parishioner who asked not be named told CTV Ottawa.

Witnesses say the woman jumped on top of the communion rail at the front of the church, targeting Jesus on the crucifix, ripping off his right arm.  It’s alleged the woman then started throwing votive candles, leaving a trail of broken glass and candle wax.

“I thought poor Jesus and poor the woman. Imagine? What she was disturbed about I don’t know,” the parishioner said, “it will be fixed but I don’t know how it will affect the church’s sense of security.”

A church staff member says the Basilica was the target of vandalism back in February; they believe the same woman may be responsible for Sunday’s destruction.   

Ottawa Police has been brought in to investigate, so far no arrest has been made. Police say at this point the case is at early stages, and not yet being considered a hate-crime.

St. Patrick’s Basilica remains open.