Post by Admin on Sept 16, 2020 11:55:04 GMT
Sacred Heart of Jesus statue destroyed in El Paso's St. Patrick Cathedral; suspect held
El Paso Times | September 15, 2020
A suspect has been detained by El Paso police after the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in St. Patrick Cathedral was destroyed Tuesday morning.
The Catholic Diocese of El Paso said the statue was vandalized around 10 a.m. when a man entered the sanctuary at the cathedral and destroyed the almost 90-year-old statue. It was on display behind the main altar of the church.
The church was open at the time for prayer.
The El Paso Police Department is investigating the vandalism. Police spokespeople could not be reached for further information.
The rector of St. Patrick Cathedral, the Rev. Trini Fuentes, said in a statement: “I am in shock and we at the cathedral are heartbroken over such an unexpected situation.”
Bishop Mark J. Seitz also expressed his sadness about the vandalism.
“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,” Seitz said in a statement.
“As sad as I am to see a statue attacked and destroyed, I am grateful that it was not a living person,” the bishop 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.”
The statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was in the center of the altar at St. Patrick Cathedral.
It was destroyed by a vandal Tuesday morning, Sept. 15, 2020.
The bishop said he would pray for the vandal.
“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,” Seitz said.
In September 2019, the FBI offered rewards totaling $15,000 for information leading to the arrest of whoever was responsible for three arson cases at El Paso Catholic churches that summer.
Rewards of up to $5,000 were offered in the three separate arson cases: St. Matthew Catholic Church, St. Patrick Cathedral and St. Jude Catholic Church sustained damage from incendiary devices on May 7, May 13 and June 15, respectively. No one was injured.
“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,” Seitz concluded.
The diocese's statement ended with a plea: "St. Patrick, Patron of Ireland and our Diocese, Pray for us."