Dahlgren Chapel Vandalized
Dahlgren Chapel, a place of worship at the center of Georgetown University’s main campus and campus ministry, was vandalized April 14. Chairs were tossed and broken as was a crucifix, according to university spokespersons. The organ was also damaged. The university said it would increase security at the historic chapel, built in 1893, which was been the site for many Georgetown alum weddings.
Georgetown University President John DeGioia issued a statement on the vandalism: “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. . . . I must underscore that acts of vandalism, especially of sacred places, have no place in our 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. While we do not know the motivation of the person or persons who committed these acts, nor whether or not they are members of the university community, they are of great concern.”
Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry, told the student-run Georgetown Voice that “the crucifix was damaged in a minor way, though it did not constitute ‘desecration,’ which is property damage with intent to religiously offend.” Nevertheless, the damage was enough to force the sudden relocation of the 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sunday Masses. The 5 p.m. Mass was celebrated at Dahlgren.
University spokesperson Rachel Pugh told the Georgetowner: “Georgetown University’s Department of Public Safety is working closely with the Metropolitan Police Department in investigating this crime. Security has been increased. Currently, no other details are available to be released as this is an ongoing active investigation.”
The university urges anyone who may have information related to this incident to contact DPS at 202-687-4343.