STERRETT, Ala. (WIAT) – Staff at the Caritas of Birmingham discovered Monday morning the Virgin Mary statue was vandalized with toilet paper. Founder Terry Colafrancesco says they have reported this incident to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

The Caritas of Birmingham is considered the largest Medjugorje center in the world, given it’s religious and spiritual significance.

“When she came here, she (Marija Lunetti) had apparitions. We thought it was going to happen in the church, and it went a different way.” Colafrancesco said.

Thousands of people over the years and throughout the world have gathered at the site and statue, praying and searching for peace.

“There’d be 10,000 people in the field and instant conversations,” Colafrancesco said.

Some people from throughout the country, including Alabama, gathered at the Caritas of Birmingham on Tuesday.

“And when I realized that could include me, it was just awesome,” T.J. Sullivan of Leeds, Alabama said.

Sullivan has been a member of the faith for years and says when he heard the Virgin Mary statue was vandalized with toilet paper, he wasn’t thrilled.

“People are much more exposed to the selfishness, the self-centeredness, and making themselves God,” Sullivan said.

Colafrancesco says this isn’t the first time someone or a group of people have vandalized the statue or their property. But through all of that, he says the best course of action is to forgive those responsible.

“We have to have that in our hearts. So, we pray for these people who did whatever they did,” Colafrancesco said.

“And love has to incorporate forgiveness. You can’t love if you aren’t willing to forgive,” Sullivan said.

CBS 42 is still waiting for more information from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office on the investigation.