BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CNS) — A burglar cut through a metal protective casing to steal a historic tabernacle valued at $2 million at a Brooklyn Catholic church.
In the course of the crime, angel statues flanking the tabernacle were decapitated, and consecrated hosts from inside the tabernacle were thrown all over the altar, according to a Brooklyn diocesan news release.
The burglary is suspected to have taken place May 27 at St. Augustine Catholic Church in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn and the theft was discovered by the pastor May 28, the release said.
A safe in the sacristy also was cut open but nothing was inside, it added.
“This is devastating, as the tabernacle is the central focus of our church outside of worship, holding the body of Christ, the Eucharist, which is delivered to the sick and homebound,” said Father Frank Tumino, the pastor.
The tabernacle dates back to when the church was built in the 1890s. “This holy sacramental receptacle is irreplaceable due to its historical and artistic value,” the diocesan said.
The New York City Police Department was investigating this “brazen crime of disrespect and hate” and has asked the community for any tips that could lead to solving it.
“To know that a burglar entered the most sacred space of our beautiful church and took great pains to cut into a security system is a heinous act of disrespect,” Father Tumino said.
In the neighboring Archdiocese of New York, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan planned to visit a Manhattan Catholic church May 31 that a news release said was the victim of “a hate crime” a week earlier.
Vandals beheaded and smashed statues in the Our Lady of Fatima Grotto at Our Lady of Sorrows Church.
The cardinal planned to pray an evening rosary, which “will be offered in reparation for this act of vandalism and hate.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103