ROSWELL - A marble statue of Jesus vandalized outside a Catholic church in Roswell before Easter Services has been restored, lifting the spirits of congregation members.
Worshippers discovered the vandalism when they arrived for Easter Sunday mass at St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church to find the 9-foot statue defaced with bright pink paint.
Someone put paint on the face and hands of the statue and painted other offensive symbols, WSB-TV reported.
Church officials feared the paint would permeate the statue, but the damage was not as bad as first thought and a restoration expert was able to remove it.
"We used graffiti remover and a light solvent final rub with small brushes and cotton tips, and got in there and got all the detail done," John Morley, president of J.J. Morley Enterprises, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Morley said he came to the suburban Atlanta church Monday morning because "it was too sad to see it the way it was left."
"I thought the least I could do was make this headache go away for them," Morley told the Journal-Constitution. "They were very appreciative."
Father Peter Rau, church pastor, said the vandalism hurt many of the parishioners.
"As the day passed, to begin to see the children's reaction -- really, it hurt them, especially on Easter morning," Rau said.
Roswell police Det. Ken Kraus said investigators planned to send samples of the paint to a lab for analysis and to try to determine where it came from.