Catholic Church officials on Sunday reconsecrated a statue of the Virgin Mary outside Rosario Chapel that had been vandalized a couple of weeks earlier.
Archbishop John C. Wester of the Santa Fe Archdiocese, accompanied by the Very Rev. Adam Lee Ortega y Ortiz, stopped at the stone nicho during the annual procession to the chapel from the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi with La Conquistadora, Our Lady of Peace, the oldest Marian statue in the U.S.
Each year on the Sunday after Corpus Christi, the statue is brought to the chapel for a novena of Masses.
Ortega, who is rector of the cathedral, said vandals had earlier gouged out the eyes of the Rosario Chapel statue, burned the rosaries hanging around her neck and carved a pentagram, a five-pointed satanic symbol, on her forehead.
As soon as the desecration was discovered, the statue was restored “in all its splendor,” Ortega said this week. The statue depicts Mary with a crown of pink roses, a white veil trimmed in gold and her hands folded in front of her heart.
The new archbishop agreed to bless it during the annual procession.
“We don’t know [if this was a case of people] playing ugly pranks or it truly was something satanic,” Ortega said. “In any case, it was desecrated. So it was reconsecrated.”
The chapel, completed in 1807 northwest of downtown Santa Fe, was built for the reception of the statue of La Conquistadora, originally brought to New Mexico by Gen. Don Diego de Vargas.
The cemetery surrounding it has many private family mausoleums and burial sections dedicated to Christian Brothers, as well as sisters and priests who served the church in Northern New Mexico.
Police have no suspects in the vandalism.