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San Xavier Mission Near Tucson Targeted By Vandals

San Xavier Mission
(Courtesy of Diocese of Tucson)
Graffiti at the historic San Xavier Mission south of Tucson.

Cleaning crews have been working since sunrise Monday to remove graffiti at the historic San Xavier Mission south of Tucson. Words like “rape” and the numbers “666” were discovered on the front and sides of the church.

Steff Koeneman  with the Catholic Diocese of Tucson would not speculate who would desecrate a church, but she said some of the words were misspelled or illegible. Koeneman described what happened as, “unfortunate” and “troublesome.”

"The Mission has stood since 1797, it has withstood lightning storms, it has been hit by lightning, its gone through earthquakes, and windstorms, and everything nature can throw at it" she noted. "So, it’s most upsetting when something like a can of paint can do that kind of damage to a building that’s been so enduring."

Koeneman said the mission itself will require a special coating and it could take two to three weeks before the damage is completely repaired. The Tohono O’odham tribal police are investigating. 

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.