EL PASO, Texas (NewsNation Now) — A nearly century-old Sacred Heart of Jesus statue was destroyed Tuesday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in El Paso, Texas.
“I am in shock and we at the Cathedral are heartbroken over such an unexpected situation,” said Fr. Trini Fuentes, the Rector of St. Patrick Cathedral.
The cathedral was open for prayer Tuesday morning, when someone destroyed the almost 90-year-old statue behind the main altar of the church, according to a statement from the Catholic Diocese of El Paso.
Photos provided by the diocese show the statue on the steps of the altar, with the head of mostly shattered and arms fallen off.
El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz said it was one of his favorite representations of Jesus.
“As sad as I am to see a statue attacked and destroyed, I am grateful that it was not a living person,” Seitz said in a statement. “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.”
A suspect was detained by El Paso Police, according to the diocese.
“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.
The department hasn’t released any details on the suspect.
The statue is just the latest in a string of church vandalisms in the far west Texas city, located along the Mexico border. NewsNation affiliate KTSM reports this is the second time St. Patrick’s Cathedral has been vandalized in 18 months.
The church plans to “celebrate with enduring faith the Votive Mass of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus” at two services Wednesday morning and early afternoon.