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Vandal sprays graffiti on San Xavier Mission

Posted at 10:18 AM, Apr 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-07 20:10:27-04
When Father Edward Sarrazin walked out of morning prayer and saw graffiti all over the historic San Xavier Mission, he said his heart dropped. 
 
"I couldn't believe that someone would do such a thing," he said. "And I was also outraged that they would desecrate such a historical landmark."

A priest found the graffiti early Thursday morning. Black spray-painted words and symbols covered the front walls and all throughout the courtyard. 

Cleanup crews spent several hours trying to remove the graffiti as visitors continued to walk through the grounds. 

"We've been praying for them that their hearts will be turned and hoping that they'll turn themselves in," said Sarrazin. 

The 18th century mission, at 1950 W. San Xavier Road, receives 200,000 visitors per year. San Xavier Mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797. 

Restoration efforts are currently underway by the non-profit group Patronato San Xavier. They are currently raising funds to complete the second bell tower. If you would like to donate, click here. 

Tohono O'odham Police are investigating the crime and say graffiti was also found at the nearby tribal cemetery.

Anyone with information about the crime is urged to contact Tohono O'odham police at 520-622-1587.