Georgetown University’s Dahlgren Chapel was vandalized last weekend, marking the second time in a year that the historic building was targeted.
Catholic Education Daily is reporting that the incident occurred overnight on April 13 and left chairs, an organ mirror and a crucifix damaged. Christ’s left hand was broken off of a Crucifix used in processions.
The vandalism was discovered on Sunday morning and reported to the Department of Public Safety. Sunday Masses were temporarily moved to a different location until the damage was cleared.
Dahlgren Chapel seats 275 people and has been the main Catholic chapel on campus for 120 years.
“I must underscore that acts of vandalism, especially of sacred places, have no place in our campus community,” wrote the university’s President John J. DeGioia in an email to the campus community.
“As a Catholic and Jesuit university, we are committed to fostering a community that is welcoming to people of all religions, races and ethnicities and that values understanding, inclusion and respect.”
According to the Washington Post, DeGioia said a preliminary investigation indicated that there was no desecration of religious symbols. A university spokeswoman said the damage to the processional cross appears to have occurred while the vandals were trying to reach a piano, rather than as a deliberate act of desecration.
Thankfully, the large cross behind the altar, which is believed to have been brought to Maryland from England in the 17th Century, remained unharmed in the attack.
This is the second time the chapel was the target of vandals. Last spring, the steps of the chapel were littered with condom wrappers and alcohol. Members of the female volleyball team later admitted to the incident.
Thus far, no one has claimed responsibility for the latest attack.
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