Virgin Mary statue on Mass. traffic island smashed

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts pizza shop-owner says he’s heartbroken that someone smashed a statue of the Virgin Mary he had placed on a city traffic island.

Antonio Liquori, owner of Liquori’s Pizzeria, placed the statue on the West Springfield island last year as part of a city beautification project.

But people complained, and the city in May ordered him to take it down because it was in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state. The statue was removed for a time, but Mayor Gregory Neffinger allowed Liquori to put it back while awaiting a legal opinion from the city attorney.

Liquori tells The Republican (http://bit.ly/1aTMd5k ) that someone smashed the statue to bits last month while he was in Italy visiting family.

Liquori says he hasn’t told police, and he’s unsure whether he’ll replace the Madonna.

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Information from: The Springfield (Mass.) Republican, http://www.masslive.com/news/

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