Update, 5:15 pm: According to Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry, the crucifix was damaged in a minor way, though it did not constitute “desecration,” which is property damage with intent to religiously offend.
“The preliminary investigation indicates … that there was no evidence of desecration, and desecration means property damage with the intent of making religious offense,” he said. “In the investigation we have now … any property damage was not intended to make religious offense. It’s property damage.”
The crucifix fell off of its base, and part of the hand of the crucifix was damaged. Investigators’ best guess is that whoever was inside the chapel knocked it off as he or she was moving around the piano and organ, which was also damaged.
According to University Spokeswoman Rachel Pugh, there will be increased security around the chapel in the coming days.
Original Post: According to an email to students from University President John DeGioia, the Department of Public Safety received a report early this morning that the interior Dahlgren Chapel itself had been vandalized. The Metropolitan Police Department is working along with DPS in the investigation.
According to Travis Richardson (COL ’15), who is active in campus ministry, chairs were vandalized and a mirror was missing from the organ. According to DeGioia’s email, “The preliminary investigation indicates that there was no desecration of the Blessed Sacrament or any religious symbols. The primary damage was to furniture and other fixtures.”
Sam Dulik (SFS ’13), an active member of Georgetown’s Catholic community, said that the chairs were tossed about the room, with some broken. He also also mentioned some windows possibly being broken, as well.
Some reports to Vox also indicated that, contrary to DeGioia’s email, the crucifix used for processionals did sustain damage, but that detail hasn’t been confirmed. The tabernacle, however, was not damaged.
Morning masses have been relocated. Evening masses will proceed as scheduled.