St. Bonaventure Catholic Parish's business manager, Nancy Cesar, said the damage was discovered around 6:30 a.m. Sunday and included drawings of 666, swastika, "Heil Hitler" and phallic symbols.
"Oh my gosh, it was so devastating and hurtful, I would say," Cesar said.
Cesar said church employees of the Huntington Beach church were able to wash most of the writing off and the figure of baby Jesus was not harmed as it isn't displayed until Christmas Eve per tradition.
The Los Angeles Times said a Nativity display at a home in the same town was also vandalized.
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