Christians are being urged to pray for a Catholic priest who was left in critical condition after being attacked with a machete on church grounds.
The incident occurred at St John the Evangelist Catholic Church in the US state of Louisiana on Thursday.
According to police reports, the attacker had approached Father Stephen Ugwu asking for food. However, upon the priest's refusal, the attacker resorted to brutally stabbing him multiple times with a machete.
The Diocese of Lafayette issued a statement acknowledging the incident.
“The Diocese of Lafayette confirms that Father Stephen Ugwu, pastor of Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Melville, was violently attacked yesterday afternoon on the church campus. Father Ugwu was transported to an area hospital and is in stable condition.
“The Melville Police Department is handling the investigation. We wish to thank all who have been praying for Father Ugwu and request that you continue to do so.”
Police believe the attack may have been racially motivated after hearing the words used by the suspect when the attack took place. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.
The suspect has been charged with attempted second-degree murder, hate crimes, home invasion and a bench warrant.