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World March 27, 2019

Elderly women use canes to beat back priest’s attacker

By CNA / EWTN News

The pastor of Our Lady Queen of Poland church in Edmonton was attacked by a young man, only to be rescued by elderly women who beat the attacker with their canes. (Archdiocese of Edmonton photo)

EDMONTON (CNA)—Police are investigating an incident in Edmonton after a posse of elderly women beat back a priest’s attacker with their walking canes.

It was after evening Mass at Our Lady Queen of Poland church on March 13, and the pastor Father Marcin Mironiuk was outside saying goodbye to parishioners when a young man, roughly 25 years old, approached the priest.

Father Mironiuk, who did not recognize the man, reportedly asked him if he spoke Polish. The man said no and reportedly rushed the priest, according to authorities.

Lorraine Turchansky, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Edmonton, told Global News Canada that the man threw the priest to the ground and started choking him with his hands when the elderly women who were also leaving Mass came to his defence.

“They were quite perturbed by this and shocked, really,” Turchansky said.

“They were older women so they’re not the kind of people who would whip out a cellphone and take a video or call 911. They did what they could and they had canes. They started striking the guy with their canes.”

When the women tried to pull the stranger off the priest, he fled the scene, Turchansky told Global News.

Turchansky said that Father Mironiuk was “certainly traumatized” by the incident and spent that night with friends, rather than alone in his rectory. He was otherwise “totally recovered.”

CBC News reported that police are investigating the incident, and that the suspect has been described by authorities as a 25 year-old white man with short, dark hair, who smelled of alcohol at the time of the incident.

The attack is one of a series of priest attacks or incidents in Canada. On March 22, several days after the incident in Edmonton, 77 year-old Fr. Claude Grou of St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal was stabbed by an attacker who rushed him during morning Mass.

Grou has since been released from the hospital, is making a good recovery and is “eager” to return to work.

CBC News reported that just two days later, Vermillion priest Father Roger Rouleau experienced a “scare,” when a man rushed the altar at a morning Mass.

“He pushed him up on the altar, and in that case, Father Rouleau couldn’t help but think about what happened in that horrific attack in Montreal at St. Joseph’s Oratory,” Turchansky told CBC News.

But it turned out the man “just wanted a hug,” Turchansky said.