Dear Seattle University Community,
Yesterday afternoon, the Chapel of St. Ignatius was the target of an act of vandalism. Several items of furniture – as well as elements of the Chapel’s religious inscriptions – were defaced in the process. Seattle University Public Safety and the Seattle Police Department are actively investigating.
As university leaders, we express our sorrow and support to members of the Campus Ministry Liturgy team who first encountered the damage yesterday as they arrived to prepare for Mass, and who were shaken by what they observed. We offer a special message of comfort to our Jesuit Community, which is responsible for stewarding the Chapel. We commend the students and staff who responded to this disturbing incident by supporting and comforting one another. One staff member expressed particular gratitude to the Public Safety officers who arrived on the scene and who, in his words, compassionately ministered to those who were present.
The Chapel of St. Ignatius is a uniquely treasured and sacred space on our campus. Although we do not know the motives of the person who engaged in this destructive act, our experience of it brings us into solidarity with other communities who have experienced this kind of desecration and disregard. As a consequence of the damage to our sanctuary, the Sunday evening Mass could not be held in the Chapel and Father Vincent Duong and the Campus Ministry team quickly relocated it to Hunthausen Hall. We can think of no better expression of the resilience and resolve of our faith-filled community than to refuse to allow this kind of malicious act to break the sacredness of our beliefs.
We extend our prayers to the person who perpetrated this vandalism. We ask God to grant them a change of heart and to heal our campus community of the harm they have caused. Thanks to the diligent and loving attention of our Facilities team, the Chapel of St. Ignatius will resume its regular Mass schedule tomorrow, May 2.
Eduardo M. Peñalver
Arturo Araujo, S.J.
Rector, Arrupe Jesuit Community
Vice President for Mission Integration
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion