EL PASO, Texas - A cathedral in El Paso was vandalized while the church was open and available for prayer Tuesday morning.
The Diocese of El Paso says a suspect came into the sanctuary at St. Patrick Cathedral around 10 a.m. and destroyed an almost 90-year-old statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was located in the center behind the main altar.
“I am in shock and we at the Cathedral are heartbroken over such an unexpected situation,” said The Rector of St. Patrick Cathedral, Fr. Trini Fuentes.
The suspect has been detained by the El Paso Police Department, officials said.
“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,” said Bishop Seitz. “As sad as I am to see a statue attacked and destroyed, I am grateful that it was not a living person. 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."
Officers are currently continuing their investigation into the vandalism.
“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 continued. “I am devastated at this irreplaceable loss as I know members of this parish community and the whole Church of El Paso will be. At this moment we will reach out in confidence to the One this statue represented and I know he will console us."
This story was first reported by Sydney Isenberg at KXXV in Waco, Texas.