Dozens of white crosses that were staked to the ground at a San Jose church for homicide victims have been removed at the order of a new priest.
The new pastor at Guadalupe Church, Father Gerardo, had the crosses removed after the church said some parishioners claimed they made the area look eerie like a cemetery.
The pastor then gave Friends of Guadalupe, the group that installed the crosses, a pink slip. The group held tutoring classes for children, citizenship and English classes for adults on church grounds. The group has also helped poor families pay utility bills.
The pastor said the group had to go.
"It's just sad to see," said Olga Israte, a church volunteer. "We were not given a chance. He has not given any time to know us, know who we are."
Israte benefits from the community programs and also volunteers with Amigos de Guadalupe.
The church would not respond to questions from NBC Bay Area, but provided a letter sent to parishioner where the pastor explained the church needs the space to provide catechism, bible study and other faith-based classes.
In the letter, the pastor said he is only responding to results of a survey with parishioners. Results that appears to be splitting this community in two.