Kevin VeseyApr 18, 2016, 10:29 pmApr 18, 2016, 10:30 pm

Swastika-like tile designs found inside prominent Catholic church in Rockville Centre

The symbols went unnoticed for several decades before it was brought to the attention of church officials

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Tile symbols that resembled swastikas on the floor of the Saint Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre had gone undetected for more than 80 years, until FiOS1 News brought the pictures to the Archdiocese of Rockville Centre.

Residents like Josfine Fertullien of Hempstead were alarmed to see images of the tiles that look just like a well-known symbol of hate. She said she was alarmed and shocked by the discovery.

Officials with the Diocese of Rockville Centre were also surprised by the discovery and thankful that FiOS1 News brought the images to their attention.

All four swastika-like tiles were also off to the side in a small, rarely-used alcove and they had simply gone unnoticed.

The tiles were installed when the church was being built in the early1930s, at the same time Hitler and his Nazi Party were rising to power in Germany.

At that time, the ancient symbol was not yet associated with hatred and bigotry but instead of luck, says Sean Dolan, spokesperson of the Diocese of Rockville Centre said.

“It was a Sanskrit meaning for good fortune, and it was in many different houses of worship that were built prior to the 1930s,” Dolan said.

He adds that the floor had been scuffed up over the years and the symbols only just recently became easier to see after a series of renovations.

After FiOS1 News sent the diocese pictures of the floor tiles, they took immediate action and had workers permanently grind the symbols away.

“Obviously it was there and the right thing to do was to remove it,” Dolan said.

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