Tuesday morning, Diocese of El Paso representatives say St. Patrick Cathedral was vandalized, as a nearly nine decades old statue of Jesus was toppled.
Officials with the diocese say the historic statue, located behind the main altar of the church, was knocked over while the church was open for daily prayer.
“I am devastated at this irreplaceable loss as I know members of this parish community and the whole Church of El Paso will be. In this moment we will reach out in confidence to the One this statue represented and I know he will console us,” Bishop Seitz said.
According to officials, El Paso Police detained one person and are continuing to investigate the incident.
Diocesan officials released the following statement Tuesday evening:
We are saddened to announce the vandalism at St. Patrick Cathedral earlier today.
The Cathedral was vandalized this morning at around 10:00am. A suspect came into the sanctuary at St. Patrick Cathedral and destroyed the almost 90-year-old statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was located in the center behind the main altar of the church. The church was open and available for prayer.
A suspect has been detained by the El Paso Police department. The police are currently continuing their investigation into the vandalism.
The Rector of St. Patrick Cathedral, Fr. Trini Fuentes, said, “I am in shock and we at the Cathedral are heartbroken over such an unexpected situation.”
Bishop Seitz also expressed his sadness about the damage caused to the historic Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue.
“This statue is one of my favorite representations of Jesus—his arms open wide in welcome, his heart aflame with love for us. I would often take inspiration from this image as I prepared for Mass.”
“As sad as I am to see a statue attacked and destroyed, I am grateful that it was not a living person,” Bishop Seitz added. “But a statue, particularly this statue, concretizes and connects us to persons and ideals that are not visible to our eyes. They reveal to us realities that are close to us, but unseen,” he said.
“At this point we do not know anything about the person who carried out this assault, but he certainly must be a person who is greatly disturbed to have attacked this peaceful place in our city and this image of the King of Peace. I hope this might be the impetus for him to receive the help he needs. He will be in my prayers,” Bishop Seitz added.
“I am devastated at this irreplaceable loss as I know members of this parish community and the whole Church of El Paso will be. In this moment we will reach out in confidence to the One this statue represented and I know he will console us,” Bishop Seitz concluded.
St. Patrick, Patron of Ireland and our Diocese, Pray for us.